Alum Root (Heuchera cylindrica)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Alum Root
Heuchera cylindrica
Saxifragaceae

The root can be used as an alum substitute, this is a mordant that is used in fixing dyes[168, 257]. The root is rich in tannin and it has been suggested that this is the mordant[168, 172]].

A good ground cover plant for the woodland garden[200]. Plants should be spaced about 30cm apart each way[208].

  • Medicinal Use

    The whole plant, but especially the roots, is astringent[257]. A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and stomach cramps[257]. Externally, a decoction is used as a wash on aching joints[257]. A poultice of the mashed peeled roots is used in treating rashes, sores and cuts[257]. When mixed with the spores of puffballs, it has been used as a salve for treating nappy rash[257].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – cooked[172].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. The seed can also be sown in the middle of spring in an outdoor seedbed and planted out in early summer. Alternatively, you can sow the seed in an outdoor seedbed in the middle of summer for planting out in the following spring. Division in March or October[1, 111]. It is best to divide the plants in August or early September, making sure that the woody roots are planted quite deeply with only the crown of foliage above the ground[233].
Succeeds in any good sweet garden soil that does not dry out in spring[1]. Prefers full sun but tolerates partial shade[1, 111]. Prefers a well-drained fairly rich and not too heavy soil[111]. Plants are hardy to about -20¡c[187]. Closely related to H. chlorantha[200], it is apt to hybridize with other members of this genus[111]. A very ornamental plant[60], a number of named forms have been selected for their ornamental value[187]. The subspecies H. cylindrica glabella has been specifically mentioned for its use as a mordant[168, 172].
N. America – British Columbia to California and east to Nevada, Wyoming and Montana.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.