Indicator Plants

Tiarella trifoliata – three-leaved foam-flower

Common Name

three-leaved foam-flower



Scientific Name

Tiarella trifoliata

Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
  • Medium (M)
  • Wet (W)
Soil Nutrient Regime (SNR)
  • Rich (R)

Botanical Drawing

Hitchcock, C. Leo, and Arthur Cronquist. Flora of the Pacific Northwest: An Illustrated Manual © 1973. Reprinted with permission of the University of Washington Press.

General / Habitat
  • Herb, 15-60 cm tall
  • Moist, shady coniferous forests and clearings
  • Widespread at low to middle and sometimes subalpine elevations
  • Called “foam-flower” because flowers resemble specks of foam
Key Identifying Characteristics
  • Leaves: Main leaves basal (grow from lowest part of stem) with 3 leaflets that are irregularly lobed and coarsely toothed, few stem leaves
  • Three subspecies
    • trifoliata (as described) has compound leaves with three leaflets
    • unifoliata  variety has simple 3-5 lobed leaves
    • lacinata has three very deeply cleft leaflets
  • Flowers: tiny and white, borne on tall, wire-like stalks in elongate clusters
  • Fruit: small capsules that open to resemble sugar scoops, seeds black and shiny

Douglas, G.W. et al (Editors). 1998-2002. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, Volumes 1 to 8. B.C. Min. Environ., Lands and Parks, and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C.

Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. 2014. Plants of Coastal British Columbia Including Washington, Oregon & Alaska. B.C. Ministry of Forestry and Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, B.C.


Spam prevention powered by Akismet