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Bowman's Root, False Ipecac, Fawn's Breath, Dropwort, Indian Hippo - Porteranthus trifoliatus


Family: Rosaceae - Rose family Genus Common Name: Porteranthus Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb Subshrub
Porteranthus trifoliatus - Bowman's Root, False Ipecac, Fawn's Breath, Dropwort, Indian Hippo. Bowman's root has been reclassified from Porteranthus trifoliatus to Gillenia trifoliata.

Generally smooth-stemmed, branched, to about 3 feet tall. Leaves have three lanceolate, toothed leaflets that are 2-3 inches long, with a pair of narrow, untoothed stipules that fall off before the plant blooms. Similar species Gillenia stipulata (syn: Porteranthus stipulatus) retains its large, toothed stipules during flowering.

Found in: AL, AR, DC, DE, GA, IL, KY, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, WV (USDA)

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Porteranthus trifoliatus

Distribution of Porteranthus trifoliatus in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 14 Dec 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Grundy County, TN Date: 2008-May-25Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Bowman's Root will have several blossom with narrow white petals to about 3/4" long. The petals may be somewhat unequal in length.
Porteranthus trifoliatus

Site: Long Branch Preserve, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-May-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Click on the photo for a larger image
Porteranthus trifoliatus

Site: Long Branch Preserve, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-May-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Note that the leaf stipules are gone - this is Porteranthus trifoliatus. In Porteranthus stipulatus the stipules remain while the plant blooms, and while much smaller than the leaflets, they are long enough and wide enough to give the appearance of 5 leaflets.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Porteranthus trifoliatus

Site: Long Branch Preserve, Walker County, GA Date: 2017-May-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Bowman's Root grows to about 3 feet high and is highly branched.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Porteranthus trifoliatus

Site: Long Branch Preserve, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-May-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
This is a photo of a lower leaf on Porteranthus trifoliatus. The books say the stipule is not toothed, but this doesn't look like smooth edges either. Also, this plant is in bloom, and the stipules "fall before flowering." The stipules were gone from the upper leaves, and these stipules are *much* too narrow to be Porteranthus stipulatus (American Ipecac.)
Click on the photo for a larger image
Porteranthus trifoliatus

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer