Wildflowers of NC
Saxifrage Family ( Saxifragaceae )
Blooms April - June
Foam Flowers are just one of nearly 700 species of the Saxifrage Family, whose members are largely distributed throughout mountainous areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Tiarella is found primarily in rich woods of New England extending south to the higher elevations of the Carolinas, though a varient species Tiarella cordifolia var. collina, of very similar appearance has a range extending into much of the North Carolina piedmont. This perennial herb blooms from April to June when it reaches its maximum height of 6-12 inches.
The small flowers have 5 white petals in the shape of a star with yellow stamens, and are grouped in a foam-like cluster at the apex of the stem. The genus name Tiarella is derived from the Greek Tiara, a term for a turban worn by ancient Persians and is reminiscent of the shape of the pistil. Foam flowers are colonial, spreading their growth by rhizomes, as well as by seed, and are a popular choice for ground cover in shade gardens.The shallow root system of this plant makes a happy companion of deep rooted natives such as Solomon's Seal and Cardinal Flowers.
This plant has a high tannin content making it a natural astringent. Native Americans made leaf tea to cure mouth sores and eye ailments. Root tea was used to treat diarrhea, as well as made into a poultice for topical wounds.
NC Range of Tiarella cordifolia and
Tiarella cordifolia var. collina