Tiarella cordifolia, or Foamflower (sometimes "Allegheny foamflower"), is a groundcover perennial native to upper North America (endangered in Wisconsin) that has been cultivated and hybridized. A popular variation, shown here, is the "Brandywine" which features darker, even burgundy veining amidst bright green grapevine-shaped leaves with an interesting texture. This native was able to thrive in a dark, shady area I'd had trouble getting anything to grow, and looks great along a path or pond edge. For about 6-8 weeks in spring it shoots up a racene, a tall stalk of tiny, fluffy white flowers, hence the name. It spreads slowly but surely over time. During the season the leaves become darker, and bronze in the fall assuming you don't let your patch dry out in August heat.


For more about foamflower and native plants for the Chicago area, especially those that do well in shade/moist areas, see the "book" on this website, Gardening with Native Plants in Shady Evanston.