Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)

Other common names for Yellowroot are Yellowroot Shrub and Brook Feather.   It is a member of the Buttercup family and  is an evergreen perennial shrub that can grow to three feet tall.   It blooms during April and May with beautiful purple blooms.  It is best grown in slightly acidic soils that contain sand, gravel or slits and is adaptable to full shade.   The most effective propagation method is division of the parent plant.   In our own garden the Yellowroot has colonized (spreads by its root system) nicely without being invasive so we have been able to share the new grown with other native plant collectors.

The Cherokee made an infusion of the root to treat cramps.  A compound decotion was taken as a blood tonic.  A poultice was made to treat sore eyes.   The roots were even chewed for eye problems.    The roots were also chewed for sore mouths.   In infusion was taken to calm nerves.  The Cherokee used the root to make a yellow dye that was used in arts/crafts/clothing.    The roots are a bright neon yellow color.


One thought on “Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)

  1. I retrieved some Yellow Root for a sore in my mouth at the urging of my grandmother, she kept telling me, “you need some yellow root tea.” I finally agreed to drink some and went to gather it with her and my grandfather. They both knew what it looked like. I remember the yellow root but forgot what the top looked like. It was a miracle tonic. My memory is that we made some warm tea with it (it was bitter as quinine as my grandmother said) but the next day my sore was healed! Thanks for showing the top, now I can gather it if needed.

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