Heuchera (Coral Bells, Alum Bells)



Heuchera (Coral Bells, Alum Bells) is a genus comprising about 50 species of flowering plants in family Saxifragaceae, native to North America. The genus was named after Johann Heinrich von Heucher (1677 - 1746), a German physician in the 18th century.

Heuchera species are often grown for their attractive foliage, which may be variegated or an unusual color, from mahogany brown to lime green. The flowers are borne on erect, wiry stems and attract bees. They can be grown as groundcovers in herbaceous and shrub borders. Gardeners and horticulturists have developed a multitude of hybrids between various Heuchera species. There is an extensive array of blossom sizes, shapes, colors, foliage types, and geographical tolerances. Heuchera species grow in varied habitats. H. maxima is found on the Channel Islands of California, where it grows on rocky, windy, ocean shores. H. sanguinea (Coral Bells) can be found in warm, dry canyons of Arizona.

Heuchera maxima (Island Alumroot, Jill-of-the-Rocks) is endemic to three of the eight Channel Islands of California, where it grows on rocky, windy, ocean shores and cliffs. It is a rhizomatous perennial herb with large, rounded, multi-lobed green leaves with long petioles and a fringe of hairs along the edges. It bears an erect inflorescence up to 60 cm tall with clusters of hairy, glandular flowers. Each flower is rounded with fleshy white or pink lobes and tiny petals curling away from the center. The protruding stamens are tipped with large anthers.

Heuchera elegans (Urnflower alumroot) is endemic to the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California, where it grows on rocky slopes. While it is uncommon in the wild, this species is cultivated as an attractive garden flower. It has multi-lobed leaves and produces an erect, drooping inflorescence of bright pink or magenta bell-shaped flowers.

Heuchera micrantha (Crevice alumroot) is native to western North America from British Columbia to California, where it growss on rocky slopes and cliffs. The leaves are green to reddish-green or purple-green in color, and may have very long, gland-dotted petioles, lobed and coated with glandular hairs. Many clusters of pink, white, or greenish flowers are borne on an erect inflorescence up to a meter high. Each rounded flower has fleshy, hairy lobes tipped with tiny petals and protruding stamens and stigma.

Heuchera is easy to grow and trouble-free. It grows well in sun or partial shade in well-drained neutral soil. Propagation is by division in autumn.

Heuchera elegansHeuchera elegans
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heuchera_elegans_3.jpg
authorshipStan Shebs
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Heuchera elegansHeuchera elegans
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heuchera_elegans_5.jpg
authorshipStan Shebs
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Heuchera maximaHeuchera maxima
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heuchera_maxima_5.jpg
authorshipStan Shebs
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Heuchera maximaHeuchera maxima
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heuchera_maxima_4.jpg
authorshipStan Shebs
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Heuchera micrantha var. diversifoliaHeuchera micrantha var. diversifolia
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heuchera_micrantha_1588.JPG
authorshipWalter Siegmund
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Heuchera sanguineaHeuchera sanguinea
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heuchera_sanguinea0.jpg
authorshipKurt Stüber
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