There are fifty species of flowers that make up the heuchera family. This flower is a native to North America, and is a perennial. This means that once it is planted, it will return year after year. Different species of heuchera grow wild from Canada to Mexico. Wild species typically have nondescript green or white flowers that are not considered ornamental.
The family that makes up heuchera is recognizable by several key characteristics. The root and stem are thick, and the leaves that make up the plant are deeply lobed. Aside from these shared traits, the many species of heucheras are very different.
The type and quality of soil that they require varies greatly from species to species. Some heucheras thrive in rocky, almost nonexistent soil, while others grow in more lush areas. Some are very tolerant of extremes in the weather, while others are more sensitive.
Heuchera flowers come in many different sizes, shapes and colors. One of the more well known species of heuchera is the coral bell. Other species that are relative common include Jill-of-the-rocks and American Alumroot.
Plants in the heuchera family are generally considered edible, and can be tossed in with other greens for a mixed salad. The leaves are typically too bitter to eat on their own, but add a tangy kick to an otherwise bland salad. It is important to thoroughly wash the greens before eating, as it can be hard to determine if the plants have been exposed to pesticides, or other poisons.
Heucheras have a history of use in natural medicine. Some of the plants in the alumroot family of heuchera have been used for years to treat digestive issues. Alumroot is also said to reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as to stop bleeding in minor injuries.
Heuchera plants that are developed for use in the garden have the same shape as their wild relatives: a low growing mound of leaves, with flowers growing from the center in a spike-like formation. Domesticated varieties typically have much bolder colored flowers as well. While very adaptable, they prefer well drained soil that is relatively neutral. They can tolerate some sun, but perform better when they have shade during the hottest portion of the day. These plants are relatively disease free, but may develop fungal problems if they are planted in areas that receive constant shade, or extreme moisture during the hot summer months.