Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Plant of the week: Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Foam Flower is one of the main stay plants with any woodland or shade garden.  It is very adaptable to a wide variety of conditions and numerous other woodland wildflowers work well in creating a dynamic and colorful garden.  Some excellent companion plants are wild blue phlox, dwarf crested iris, Jacob's ladder, bellwort, trilliums, jack in the pulpit, violets, yellow lady slipper orchids and even may apples as seen in the photograph above.  This is such a delightful and charming plant that has captivated plant breeders and there are now dozens of varieties in the market place.  Some cultivars have dark brownish, blackish, or reddish veins, some have foliage that turns bronze in the fall and winter, some have pinkish flowers, others have bluish flowers.  I have observed a tremendous amount of variation in the wild with leaf and flower color.  This plant gets its common name from the fact that the tiny white, spider-like flowers on a short stem look like foam.  The scientific name arises from the Latin name tiara which is a Persian crown and ella which means a turban shaped dry fruit. This species is member of the Saxifrage family which includes the commonly planted Alumroot.  The wild version of this species is a natural clump forming species that sends out above ground runners and if given enough time can become an excellent shade ground cover.  The leaves look similar to maple leaves but are highly variable in shape where some look more like Japanese maples (highly dissected) to a more thickened type leaf representative of a red maple.  The plant gets no taller than 8 to 12" and the leaves are evergreen to semi-evergreen. This is a good deer and rabbit resistant plant and it has no serious insect or disease problems. The tiny 5 petal, 10 stamen flowers are pollinated by small bees, syrphus flies, and butterflies.  It is relatively easy to grow but does best in rich organic soils that drain well because they are killed easily in the winter if the soil stays waterlogged.  They like dappled sunlight as well.  This is one of those species that every woodland garden should have and should be a foundation species for small woodland spring wildflowers.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of information here. I've read it three times already and will make a copy! I had never thought about planting Tiarella with my Mayapples. It's perfect. Not only do they look nice together - one as an umbrella for the other, but the Tiarella will hang around after the Mayapple disappears. Good idea. Besides, one can never have too much Tiarella.