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` Isopyrum biternatum
Isopyrum biternatum
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I'm not gonna go out on a limb here and change name on this great ground cover,   although it does seem that people in the know are starting to refer to Isopyrum biternatum as Enemion biternatum.  No... I like the Genus name Isopyrum and until I find out the reason for the name change,  it's still Isopyrum here.  The story gets a tad more confusing when you consider the common name "False Rue Anemone" and then consider that the real "Rue Anemone" has also seemingly undergone a name change.  Looks like Anemonella thalictroides has been rechristened Thalictrum thalictroides.  Yikes,  do these taxonomists stay up late at night thinking of ways to make our lives miserable?

Anyway,  enough about the nomenclature,  and on to the plant.  What a fantastic native groundcover!!!   I've really gotten excited about Isopyrum biternatum lately, as it has slowly begun carpeting a large section of my woodland garden.  Even if there weren't those charming white flowers in early Spring that persist for weeks,  the foliage would be enough to recommend its use in any shade garden.  In the wild, Isopyrum biternatum  prefers rich,  moist soil loaded with organic matter in dappled shade.  In the garden,  it seems happy with any kind of soil although I suspect that it would grow much slower the drier things became.

There's been a continual bloom since late March and into April here this year,  and seems that it will continue well into May.

The foliage reminds me of a Corydalis species and appears to be resistant to insect damage or deer browsing.

In addition to Isopyrum biternatum which occurs in 26 states East of the Mississippi from NY to Florida but skipping over most of New England,  there are a few other species in the genus.  Isopyrum hallii,  which occurs in Washington and Oregon,  Isopyrum occidentale, a California native,  and Isopyrum stipitatum which make its home in California and Washington.


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom -
Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom - Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision - Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division - Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class - Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Subclass - Magnoliidae
Order - Ranunculales
Family - Ranunculaceae
Genus - Isopyrum
Species - biternatum
Common name - genus - "False Rue Anemone"
Common name - species - "False Rue Anemone"
Synonyms - Enemion
Native of - Eastern US
USDA Hardiness Zone - zone 5, maybe 4?
Light preference - Full shade to light shade
Soil preference - Rich in organic matter
Moisture preference - Moist to average
Bloom time - Early Spring
Bloom color - White
Foliage - Medium green,  divided
Spread - Groundcover
Height - 6" - 12"
Landscape uses - Groundcover in a shady or woodland garden
Medicinal uses - None that I have found

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2001 Barry Glick and Sunshine Farm & Gardens


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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
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Last modified February 24, 2009
URL: http://www.sunfarm.com/picks/isopyrumbiternatum3-040022.phtml