Wildflowers Monday – Indian-physic

Gillenia trifoliata (syn. Porteranthus trifoliatus) – Bowman’s root, Indian-physic

This is another North American beauty for the shade garden. Not too often cultivated on its native grounds (talking Canada), but it holds an Award of Garden Merit from RHS :) which means it has worldwide appreciation.

Gillenia trifoliata detail

Gillenia trifoliata – particular flowers with red pedicels/calyces and 5 narrow white or pinkish petals; unmistakable if you see it flowering (Fam. Rosaceae)

Medium height, bushy perennial with deep green, healthy foliage that will turn bronze-reddish in the fall. Any shaded spot in the garden would lighten up in June when Bowman’s root is flowering!

Gillenia trifoliata

Gillenia trifoliata – Bowman’s root, Indian-physic

Common names derive from the former medicinal use of the dry root (laxative, emetic). Not difficult to grow from seeds.

7 replies
  1. ontheedgegardening
    ontheedgegardening says:

    We used to grow this at Cliffe, because it was named after me ;) I don’t think it is that well known in the UK, but it is such a delicate, understated plant, I don’t know why. Lovely!

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Ah! now I know ;) that’s why I never liked to call it Porteranthus. If I manage to collect seeds you will have to grow one in your garden – there is no excuse!

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thanks. Lovely, indeed. And one of the few natives shade perennials to flower now, in the very early summer (that’s the stage we are here :)

  2. Amy Olmsted
    Amy Olmsted says:

    One of my favorites plants! It’s gorgeous right now in the gardens at work and here at home. It is also starting to seed around a little bit. That’s a plus in my opinion!

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