The second plant that I want to highlight from my hikes is the Mountain Alumroot. Similar to my prior post, Stone Breaker Herb, these are plants that may be native, but are growing wild at the high altitudes.
I found this plan in a crevasse of granite boulders, at 11,400 feet in full sun. The Mountain Alumroot can grow as low as 9,500 feet, which is higher in elevation than most cities of Colorado. Crevasses are unusual places for any plant to grow, in particular with the elevation and the lack of soil for their roots.
The Pink Alumroot ‘Yosemite’ (Heuchera rubescens), or the Coral Bell (Heuchera americana), are plants with colorful veins. They attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees with their prominent, showy flowers. The white or pink flowers of the Alumroot bloom from May through August. The flowers include white bell-shaped stalks.
Their leaves look like Currant leaves, which stand out at high elevations. I noticed this plant while bouldering on a hike on a shelf. I would not have expected to find any plants in this area, other that lichen or moss.
Wildflower.org says this plant produces seed which collected from the capsule of the flower and stored in a cool area. Most species are meant to be divided every 3 years within your garden.
Potential locations for the Plant
There is a species which is on the Rare Plant Guide call the Richardson’s Alumroot. This plant is found in Northern El Paso County at higher elevations, based on the Colorado State Rare Plant Guide Manual. It’s possible to plant it in places like Palmer Lake or the high elevations of Monument, Air Force Academy and the Black Forest.
The Rare Plant Guide also mentions factors of threat for the Alumroot. Urban development may destroy areas where the species is thriving, hiker trampling in area, cattle grazing, and the invasion on toadflax or other non-native plants.
Regionally, the distribution of the Mountain Alumroot includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. Dry, rocky conditions are best for the herb, and may be a good plant to put in your garden for garden interest.