Alum Root, Coral Bells
2012 National Garden Bureau Perennial of the Year
Heuchera L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this genus of flowering plants. It was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online lists 43 accepted species of Heuchera (as of 1-28-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Saxifragaceae with 34 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made. The links below may have different numbers, but it depends on their sources and how updated their information is. Plants of the World Online by Kew seems to be the most up-to-date database and they continually make updates.
The genus is named after Johann Heinrich von Heucher (1677-1747). He was a botanist, medicinal plants expert and physician from Germany.
According to information online, most cultivars available are hybrids of Heuchera americana, Heuchera micrantha, and Heuchera villosa.
Heuchera americana L. was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753. There are two accepted infraspecific names of Heuchera americana.
Heuchera micrantha Douglas was named and described by David Douglas in Edward’s Botanical Register in 1830. The International Plant Names Index list the scientific name as Heuchera micrantha Douglas ex Lindl. which would mean that John Lindley could have published this name using the description from Mr. Douglas… There are four accepted infraspecific names of Heuchera micrantha.
Heuchera villosa Michx. was named and described by André Michaux in Flora Boreali-Americana in 1803. There is one accepted infraspecific name of Heuchera villosa.
Heuchera have always been one of my favorite perennials for the shadier garden next to Hosta. When I first moved to my grandparent’s farm in 1981, I bought several Heuchera from Bluestone Perennials. When I came back, I had a lot of work to do helping dad work on fences, doing the gardening, and so on. I had moved my Hosta from Mississippi so I made a shade bed but didn’t buy any Heuchera until 2014. Then in the spring of 2017, I made a new shade bed and bought three more Heuchera cultivars and hope to add a few more every spring. There are many cultivars available from a few prominent breeders, such as Terra Nova. Some cultivars are better to grow in areas with colder winters while some are better in areas with warmer summers. The H. villosa hybrids are supposed to be quite promising as well as the x Heucheralla hybrids (intergeneric crosses between Heuchera and Tiarella).
Several species of Heuchera were used by the Native Americans as herbal remedies.
I have MANY Heuchera, x Heucheralla, and Tiarella cultivars on my wish list…
The links below direct you to information about the genus, growing, plus a few of the more well-known suppliers and specialists. There are many more sources such as Wayside Gardens, White Flower Farm, etc, etc…
The Missouri Botanical Garden has information on 103 species and cultivars of Heuchera.
Plant Delights Nursery has a very good article about Heucheras by Tony Avent and Dennis Carrey.
The Master Gardener Program of the University of Wisconsin has a very good article about Heucheras. It was written in commemoration of the Heuchera being the 2012 National Garden Bureau Perennial of the Year. You will like it!
Dave’s Garden has a very good article titled “Heucheras: A conversation with Heuchera breeder Dan Heims.” Mr. Heims talked with Dave’s Garden writer Terri Lewin and she wrote this very good article. Mr. Heims is a breeder for Terra Nova Nurseries, one of the foremost breeder Heuchera (and many other perennials). There is a link to Terra Nova below.
Very interesting Terra Nova has the same article as The Master Gardener Program. Theirs says it is by Dan Heims while the other one says “posted by” Susan Mahr… Maybe it is on the NGB website… All I could find was 2018 information.
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What are your favorite Heuchera cultivars and where is your favorite source?