I have this plant growing in my garden as a woodland ground cover, and right now, in late April, it is beautiful! Although you can find foamflower for sale in many nurseries, this is indeed a native perennial plant. The photos here were taken in the forest near White Rocks campground in Giles County. Foamflower was growing abundantly there.
Foamflower gets its name from the stalk of tiny white flowers that rise above the foliage in springtime. Each tiny flower in the cluster contains numerous long stamens that spray out from the center. The prominent pistil is long and pointed, adding to the overall wispy or “foamy” appearance of the inflorescence.
The leaves at the base of the plant look somewhat like a maple leaf because they are palmately veined and have three to five lobes. In many books, the leaves are described as being heart-shaped. The leaves are light green and can have a tinge of red. All things considered, this is a very attractive, small plant that makes a wonderful addition to a shade or woodland garden.
Native Americans and early colonists used foamflower to treat skin maladies. Other common names for it include false miterwort and “running tapestry”, which refers to the colorful leaves and the fact that foamflower spreads across ground by runners (much like strawberries).
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Below are a few photos of foamflower growing in my garden at home:
The illustration above: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 224.