Heuchera richardsonii (Prairie Alumroot)

Plant Info
Also known as: Richardson's Alumroot
Genus:Heuchera
Family:Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:part shade, sun; fields, prairies, edges of woods
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:1 to 2 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] 1 to a few stalked flowers on short branches at the top of the plant, the cluster up to 8 inches long. Individual flowers are about ½ inch long, tubular with 5 rounded lobes and 5 orange-tipped stamens, and short glandular hairy on the outer surface. Flower color is green, but becomes brownish or reddish in sunnier locations. The 2 upper lobes are longest and tend to drape over the stamens that poke out the end of the tube.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed

[photo of leaves] A rosette of basal leaves surrounds the flowering stems. Leaves average 3 inches long and 2½ inches wide, round to broadly heart-shaped in outline, with 5 to 9 shallow lobes, coarse sharp teeth, wavy edges, and a long hairy stalk. Surfaces are densely glandular hairy, especially along veins on the underside. Flowering stems are multiple from the base, unbranched, and densely covered in long, glandular hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] The flower stalks become erect as fruit develops. Fruit is an oval-elliptic capsule up to about ½ inch long with the thread-like remains of the style at the tip. Capsules ripen to brown and contain numerous tiny dark brown seeds.

Notes:

Prairie Alumroot is not very picky about habitat and can be found in open prairie, rock outcrops, open woods, and on the rocky north shore of Lake Superior.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Sue - Bemidji, Hubbard Cty
on: 2016-06-12 01:41:22

I found these plants growing in my pasture. It was a clear it Jack Pine forest. It is a dry, full sun area with sandy soil.

Posted by: Joe Lindgren - Jay Cooke State Park
on: 2018-06-16 15:31:00

Lots of these growing among tall grasses on a rocky outcropping.

Posted by: HvHughes - NW Minnesota Pollinator Garden (Warren)
on: 2019-06-30 08:06:57

several plants in bloom. In full sun, wet soil.

Posted by: Scott Searcy - Glenwood
on: 2019-07-07 09:14:31

Harvesting these now on the rolling hills south of Glenwood, sandy, well drained soil, growing with in large patches of Prairie Smoke. Harvest area is a large pasture that seems to have never been farmed or over-grazed.

Posted by: Sherman - Scanlon, Minnesota
on: 2020-04-30 22:39:49

I was in Scanlon, MN (which is in Carlton County) at a Veterinary Clinic and needed to kill some time, so I walked across some nearby railroad tracks then towards the St. Louis River. Following along the shore of the river towards W State Rte 61, (that leads to Esko, MN). I found an area of partially exposed bedrock which had a thin layer of soil on it. Among the plants growing there I saw a large number of these Heuchera richardsonii blooming. I had never seen these in my life till then, but they looked very similar to a cultivated "Coral Bells" Heuchera, just sturdier, and with pale yellow/brown flowers.

Posted by: Paul henjum - Apple Valley
on: 2020-12-29 07:21:32

Heuchera richardsonii used to be common along the step shorelines of lake Alimagnet in Dakota county. It grew on dry banks on the Apple Valley side of the lake with short sedges under oaks. It has become rare, likely due to deer eating the plants and buckthorn increasing shade. The hairy plants had larger leaves and flowers, that were mostly all green.

Posted by: Greg Smith - White Bear Lake
on: 2021-02-07 10:00:21

I was bewildered by this plant that appeared in my shade border garden because it looked so much like the cultivated Huchera I was growing there. I left it until I could identify it. I'm glad I did!

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