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Culver's Root

( Veronicastrum virginicum )


Culver's Root
Culver's Physic
Veronicastrum virginicum
(Linnaeus) Farwell
Veronica virginica
Leptandra virginica




Sun, Partial Shade

Clay, Sand, Loam


Normal, Moist




Habitat Considerations

Boreal Shield, Atlantic Maritime, Mixedwood Plains, Prairies

Woodland, Savannah, Forest Edge, Prairie/Meadow/Field, Wet Meadow/Prairie/Field, Riparian

Butterfly, Hedgerow/Thicket/Windbreak/Screening, Woodland
Design Considerations

90 cm

180 cm

Jul - Sep






Birds, Butterflies, Bees

Conservation Status

Interesting Tidbits

The candelabra like flowers are usually white but sometimes pinkish or light blue. (Wildflower Center, LBJ) Veronicastrum virginicum is now rare in the wild in Manitoba, but is available in native nurseries. (Prairie Habitats Inc.) Very adaptable in the garden; try it at the woodland edge. The common name was to honour Dr. Culver who prescribed the plant as an effective laxative. (Lamb/Rhynard). The root contains a powerful emetic and cathartic. (Niering) CAUTION: The root is well known for its medicinal properties, however it is TOXIC if eaten raw. (Harris, Marjorie, 2003. Botanica North America) Habitat Information: This plant has beautiful serrated leaves in whorls up the stem. Usually in moist habitats, along stream banks, in wetlands, riparian areas, ditches, thickets, woodland edges, black soil as well as sandy savannahs and prairies. (Illinois Wildflowers) Garden Uses: Very showy with gorgeous candelabra-like white flowers, and whorled leaves. Although the plant prefers moist soil, it tolerates a lot of different conditions in gardens. The flower head can be as tall as a foot. If this plant does not get full sun it can become spindly, requiring support. (Evergreen) It prefers moist to normal soil. If you are concerned about drought, plant it so that roots can hide under a rock or two. It will help with moisture levels (Rhynard, G., as cited in Johnson, L., The new Ontario Naturalized Garden, 1999) Insect Relationships: The following study by Michigan State University detailed insects that were attracted to specific native plant species. The following insects were shown to be attracted to this plant Natural Enemies Attracted: Medium numbers of Orius insidiosus. Small numbers for Chalcidoidea, Dolichopodidae, Thomisidae, Salticidae, Syrphidae, Empididae and Braconidae. Pests Attracted: Large numbers of lygus bugs. Small numbers of aphids, leaf beetles, leafhoppers, thrips and Japanese beetles. Bees attracted: High numbers (more than 5 bees per meter square in a 30 second sample) of bees including sweat bees, small carpenter bees, and bumble bees; also highly attractive to honey bees."" (Michigan State University) Traditional Medicinal Uses: Root contains a powerful emetic and cathartic. (Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center), Cherokee Drug (Analgesic Infusion used for backache.) Roots have medicinal benefit. Have been used by several native North American tribes to treat a variety of ailments. Occasionally has been used in modern herbalism for effects on bile and liver production. Fresh root is a violent cathartic, possibly emetic, dry root is milder. Other traditional herbal uses are cited in the following.(Plants for a Future)

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