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More Information About Coptis

The genus Coptis contains about 10 species from temperate and boreal regions of North America and Asia. Coptis is in the same family (Ranunculaceae) as many other ornamental plants including delphinium, clematis, thalictrum, anemone, ranunculus, aquilegia, cimiifuga, actaea, and helleborus...that's some family tree! Of all of these genera, coptis is probably the most introverted as it is small and its main ornamental features are its fern-like green leaves and architectural (but not colorful) flowers and fruits. Chinese herbalists, American Indians, and American colonists have long used coptis in traditional medicine to treat a variety of diseases including cold sores (hence the common names), scarlet fever, alcoholism, and to aid digestion. Coptis roots are close to the surface of the soil and are bright yellow in color, which explains the common name, "yellow root".

Coptis prefers to grow in moist, organic soil in partial shade. Spreading slowly via its golden roots, coptis grows into a nice little colony over time. Try planting coptis in your bog garden with some pogonia, calopogon, and juncus to create a minature garden. When you are ready to buy coptis for your perennial garden, we hope you'll check out our online list of coptis for sale.