Large in stature but refined in texture, American ipecac produces clouds of starry white flowers in late spring and early summer atop shrubby clumps of handsome cannabis-like foliage. The leaves go fiery in fall. Further increasing its garden value is its adaptability to challenging conditions, including dry shade. Not many native U.S. perennials -- or other perennials, for that matter -- do as many things as well. Give it a couple years to mature to full size. After that, it will give you decades of delight. It will also give rise to volunteers if you let it go to seed.
Partial shade; well-drained, humusy soil; drought-tolerant; 3'x2'; late spring to early summer bloom. Zone 5.
Native to E & C US
Propagated from seed; deep 3.5-inch pots
Photo: Lori Schuster