PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Goldenseal enjoys High Royalty status in herbal medicine. It is typically combined with Echinacea for treatment of cold and flu symptoms but is used for many conditions including respiratory, skin, and digestive systems. Unfortunately, its commercial popularity has caused severe over harvesting of wild plants. It is slow to grow & multiply and takes decades to rebound from over harvesting. It is native to states east of the Mississippi from North Carolina to Illinois and Maine.

Goldenseal is a distinctive and pretty low-growing woodland plant that appreciates shade cast by its larger friends and the rich humus of the forest floor. It grows about a foot tall with strongly textured maple-shaped leaves. In late April to early May it blooms with just one or two flowers per plant.

There’s not many of them, but they are very charismatic. It resembles a sea anemone with about 40 pure white thread-like stamen tipped with a dab of sunny yellow pollen. These male bits surround the bright greenish yellow pistils (female bits). There are no flower petals. These blooms let it all hang out for a couple of weeks, then become bright red berries over the summer. It completely disappears in winter with no sign of it ever having been there, until the following April when it suddenly reappears.