Heuchera americana L.

common alum-root

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

Common alum-root (aka coral bells) is native to eastern North America, but reaches the northern limit of its range in New England, where it is known only from Connecticut. Many cultivars of this attractive, herbaceous perennial are available, featuring variegated, heart-shaped, lobed leaves that are purplish when they first emerge. Small spires of white-green flowers bloom in mid-summer. This plant prefers rich soils in semi-shaded locales.

Habitat

Forest edges, forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Connecticut
Flower petal color
  • blue to purple
  • pink to red
  • yellow
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
5
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Fruit length
0.4–1.05 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary and a hypanthium
    Flower petal color
    • blue to purple
    • pink to red
    • yellow
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is knob-like at the tip, and unbranched
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    • blue to purple
    • pink to red
    • yellow
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal number
    5
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal number
    5
    Stamen attachment
    the stamens are attached at or near the bases of the petals or tepals
    Stamen number
    5
    Stamen position relative to petals
    the stamens are lined up with the sepals
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    the capsule splits by two main valves, teeth or pores
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    0.4–1.05 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped, has rounded lobes at the base)
    • the base of the leaf blade is truncate (ends abruptly in a more or less straight line as though cut off)
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade length
    35–110 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    • the upper side of the leaf blade has obvious spots, mottles or stripes
    • the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Connecticut
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Plant height
    40–145 cm
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
absent
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Tiarella cordifolia:
flowers with 10 stamens, inflorescence a raceme, and valves of the capsule very unequal, one larger than the other (vs. H. Americana, with flowers with 5 stamens, inflorescence a panicle-like thyrsi, valves of the capsule +/- equal).

Family

Saxifragaceae

Genus

Heuchera

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our variety is Heuchera americana L. var. americana.

Need Help?

Get Help

Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Heuchera americana L. var. americana N

common alum-root. CT. Forests, forest borders, banks.