Yellow Root

Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Xanthorhiza (zan-tho-RISE-uh) (Info)
Species: simplicissima (sim-plih-KISS-ee-muh) (Info)
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Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama

Clanton, Alabama

Cullman, Alabama

Louisville, Kentucky

Mc Dowell, Kentucky

Jackson, Missouri

Harrison, New York

Hendersonville, North Carolina

Roseville, Ohio

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Pickens, South Carolina

Andersonville, Tennessee

Crossville, Tennessee (2 reports)

Hood, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 13, 2015, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This often overlooked US native shrub is a perfect addition to the woodland garden or used to soften more formal plantings in the shrub border. Once established it slowly spreads by root suckers. I have seen some old specimens in the wild that attain a gnarly irregular habit and that may be useful to up the wild effect in your garden. I think it's greatest potential is as a medium height groundcover. Clip the plant to about 6" in Spring to create a more uniform blanket effect. They tend to have few or no branches, except on larger older plants, but even branched specimens seem to favor the central stem over side shoots. It seems to take root competition in stride and I have one under a maple making this a good native substitute (or addition to) the ubiquitous Vinca, Ivy, and Winter Creeper... read more


On Oct 16, 2014, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Relatively easy to grow. Succeeds in either sandy or rich well-drained garden soils.

Succeeds in anywhere from full shade to at least partly sunny positions.

Not very particular to soil moisture, although seems to do best when soil isn't allowed to become too dry.

Can be found growing on the banks of sandy, shaded creek bottoms. Stem cuttings from wild plants are easily propagated when inserted into garden soil with a touch of rooting compound. Even if they appear dead, they will often eventually sprout new foliage in 30-60 days with patience and minimal care.

Called 'yellow root' due to its berberine content, which is historically of medicinal value, and also found in the roots of Mahonia, Hydrastis, Berberis, etc.


On May 16, 2013, skidz from Wetumpka, AL wrote:

This plant is listed as poisonous. However, the root is mentioned by many sources as a useful herb especially for digestive issues. It has been recommended to me by two herbalists to treat an H. Pylori infection and a web search will confirm several studies suggesting that is is safe and effective.


On Apr 10, 2008, crimsontsavo from Crossville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A new discovery for me and I looove the airy maroonish blooms. They are so pretty and airy.


On Apr 2, 2005, Charlotteda from Pickens, SC (Zone 7a) wrote:

This native plant grows in semi shade along our streambank.