Also called roundleaf alum, this  evergreen herbaceous perennial is a member of the saxifraxge family, Saxifragaceae,  that also includes astilbe, bergenia, and tiarella.  It is native to northwestern North America from British Columbia and Alberta to northern California and northern Nevada,  east to Wyoming and Montana where it grows in rocky areas on cliff-sides and slopes, and  in woods and sub-alpine meadows.  Plants produce a 6″ tall  basal mound of  ovate to heart-shaped leaves that are leathery, hairy and dark green.  Each  leaf is 6-8″ long and has 5-7 blunt, toothed lobes.   Small cream to greenish  bell-shaped flowers appear in dense panicles on leafless stems well above the foliage and up to 35″ tall from late spring to summer. Plants like full sun to partial shade but must have moist soil when grown in full sun and some shade where summers are hot. Both flowers and leaves are good in the vase. A good choice for ground cover, rock garden or border.  The genus name, Heuchera, honors Johann Heinrich von Heucher (1677-1747) a botanist, physician, and medicinal plant expert at Wittenberg University, Germany.  The specific epithet, cylindrica, comes from the Latin word cylindrus meaning roller or cylinder and refers to the round leaves.  The common name poker alumroot comes from the resemblance of the flower spikes to a poker.  The common name roundleaf alumroot refers to the shape of the leaves.


Type: Evergreenherbaceous perennial

Bloom: Panicles of small cream to greenish bell-shaped flowers from late spring to summer

Size: 2-3′ H x 1″ W 1′

Light:Full sun to partial shade

Soil:Organically rich, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Care: Deadhead to prolong bloom time; divide when crown becomes woody; mulch in cold climates to avoid heaving.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, division in fall

Companion Plants:Sweet woodruff, martagon lily, ajuga

Outstanding Selection:

‘Greenfinch’ (greenish yellow flowers)

‘Green ivory’ (whitish flowers with green base)

‘Hyperion’ (deep pink flowers


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Karen