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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 226. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/22/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted

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1. Heuchera L. (alum root) (Wells, 1984; Kallhoff and Yatskievych, 2001)

Plants with short, stout rhizomes. Leaves all basal (rarely 1 or a few highly reduced bracteal leaves alternate on the inflorescence stalks), short- to more commonly long-petiolate. Stipules scalelike, inconspicuous, fused to the petiole base to above the midpoint, the margins fringed, persistent on the rhizome after the leaves die back. Leaf blades mostly about as long as wide, circular to broadly ovate or kidney-shaped, the base cordate, the tip rounded or narrowed to a blunt or sharp point, the margins with 3–7 shallow lobes, also finely to coarsely scalloped or toothed and with short spreading hairs, palmately veined with usually 7 primary veins, the upper surface glabrous to hairy and/or glandular, green, sometimes with lighter mottling, the undersurface glabrous to hairy and/or glandular, usually grayish green or reddish- or purplish-tinged. Inflorescences panicles with usually numerous flowers, usually long-stalked, glabrous or more commonly hairy and/or glandular, with small scalelike or leaflike bracts at the branch points. Flowers somewhat zygomorphic or less commonly appearing actinomorphic (often appearing more zygomorphic upon pressing), each subtended by a small, linear bract at the base of the flower stalk. Hypanthium obconic to bell-shaped, fused to half or more the length of the ovary. Sepals oblong to triangular-oblong, rounded at the tip. Petals glabrous to minutely hairy, the margins entire or finely toothed, green, white, or pink. Stamens 5, barely included to long-exserted from the calyx, the anthers small, attached toward their midpoints, white, pink, or orange. Ovary 1-locular, the placentation parietal. Styles tapered, persistent and often arched or spreading at fruiting, the stigmas more or less capitate. Fruits ovoid, 2-beaked, dehiscing longitudinally from between the beaks. Seeds numerous, variously shaped, usually somewhat asymmetrical in outline, smooth or with fine tubercles or spines, dark brown to nearly black. About 35 species, North America.

Several species of Heuchera are cultivated to some extent as ornamentals in wildflower gardens and rock gardens, including all of the species occurring in Missouri. However, the plants most common in horticulture are the coralbells, with red flowers, representing H. sanguinea Engelm. (native to the southwestern United States and adjacent Mexico) and its assortment of cultivars and hybrids. Heuchera species also have a long history of medicinal use, taken both internally for various antidiarrheal, astringent, and analgesic properties, and externally as a dermatological and antirheumatic aid and a styptic (Spongberg, 1972; Moerman, 1998).

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