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Tiarella cordifolia


Plant Details

Common Name: Foamflower
Family: Saxifragaceae (saxifrage family)
Mature Height: 6" - 2'
Sun Requirement: Part shade to shade, Shade
Moisture Requirement: Medium - moist, Moist
Flower Color: White, Blush
Bloom Time: Spring (May or earlier), Early summer (June - July)
Seed Collection Date: Early summer (June - July), Mid summer (July - August)

Tiarella cordifolia foamflower
Tiarella cordifolia foamflower
Tiarella cordifolia foamflower
Tiarella cordifolia foamflower
Tiarella cordifolia foamflower
Tiarella cordifolia foamflower

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Tiarella is from the Greek meaning headdress and refers to the shape of the pistil; cordifolia is Latin for heart-shaped leaves.

Native Habitat

Forests, swamps and wetland margins.

Garden Uses

Ground cover in shade or part sun.


Tiarella cordifolia is a small, delicate clump forming or running perennial that spreads rapidly from underground stolons forming 1- 2’ clumps. This plant flourishes in rich, moisture-retentive soils in shady sites and clump forming individuals can also be massed to form a ground cover.

Leaves and Stems

The puckered maple-like leaves with heart-shaped bases may have red or purple veins and can be up to 4” wide with toothed lobes. The foliage is often evergreen and may take on a bronze tint in fall and winter.


The small star-shaped white flowers in compact racemes are borne on 6 - 12” stalks. The white flowers emerge from pinkish buds in spring and persist for about 6 weeks. The long slender stamens give the plant a frothy appearance and consequently the common name of Foamflower.


Small lopsided capsule that splits into two segments full of shiny black seeds. The plants begin to produce seed barely a week after the first flowers begin to wither.

Animal Associates

Bees, flies, moths and butterflies visit the flowers. The foliage is sometimes browsed by deer.


Propagation is easiest by dividing the runners or crowns in fall or spring. Plant the divisions about a foot apart. Seeds collected from mature fruits can be planted immediately or sown in the spring. Germination is high, but the seedlings grow slowly.

Ethnobotanical Uses

It has been used by herbalists as a tonic and a diuretic, aiding with kidney and live problems and congestion and by Native Americans to cure a variety of ailments.

Garden Location

Performance Hall Garden, West Woods (see garden map)

Anecdotal Information

There seem to be two types of plants, those that form clumps and those that spread by runners. Ask about the habit or observe carefully when obtaining new plants.


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 

Missouri Botanical Garden

New Moon Nursery

Native Plant Trust 

Plant Profile by Kathy Kling