Size and method of spreading:
If the tall flowering stems are present, this plant can reach mature heights of 2 to 4 feet tall, but without the flowers, the basal leaves often reach 1 to 2 feet in height. They are typically 1 to one-and-one-half feet wide. The primary method of spread for prairie alumroot is self-seeding.
Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)
Prairie alumroot is native to the Midwestern United States. C Value: 10.
Attracts birds or pollinators:
Hummingbirds and butterflies are common visitors of prairie alumroot. Prairie alumroot also attracts bees, including a specialist pollinator bee species (Colletes aestivalis). It is also a specialist host for a species of flea beetle (Altica heucherae) and some species of aphids.
The leaves of prairie alumroot grow around the base of the plant (basal leaves) and are attached by long, slender stalks (petioles) that are longer than the length of the leaves. The lower surfaces of the leaves and the petioles are hairy (pubescent). The upper surfaces of the leaves may be slightly pubescent or hairless (glabrous). In warmer climates, the foliage of prairie alumroot is evergreen, but the amount of evergreen foliage is temperature dependent in colder climates. The shape of the leaves is round with a slightly heart-shaped base (cordate), with five to nine shallow lobes in a handlike pattern. The lobes have slight serration to the edges (serrate to dentate margins). The leaves are medium-green colored, but cultivars are available with variegation.
Prairie alumroot flowers grow on individual stalks (pedicels) on groups of branching stalks that mature from the bottom upwards (panicles). These branching stalks originate on a long leafless center stem (scape) that rises above the foliage. The scape, branching stalks, and pedicels are covered in long, conspicuous hairs. Each flower has five petals that are often green or white in color, are surrounded by a five-lobed appendage (calyx), and have long string-like protrusions (stamens and style). The upper two lobes of the calyx can be slightly longer than the lower three, giving the flower an asymmetrical appearance. The stamens will be tipped with orange (anthers). The calyx, petals, and stamens are fused together at their base, forming a cup (hypanthium) around the female reproductive organs (pistils).
The fruit of prairie alumroot are dry and will open to release the seeds when they mature (capsules). The capsules will have long, stringlike beaks. After the seeds open, they are carried by the wind.