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Porteranthus trifoliatus 'Pink Profusion' (Bowman's root)

Porteranthus trifoliatus 'Pink Profusion'

Bowman's root

(syn. Gillenia trifoliata)

We've been enjoying this great native for many years in our garden, since it was given to us by the Mt. Cuba Center in 2001. 'Pink Profusion' has clear pink flowers that are held daintily above reddish leaves on deep red stems. The best part is the way the flowers shimmer in a light breeze, as though they will take flight at any moment.

Porteranthus 'Pink Profusion' LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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24-30 Inches


24-30 Inches


30 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

Bowman's root Interesting Notes

A cultivar introduced by Mt. Cuba Center called 'Pink Profusion' emboldens the plant with even more red hues producing flowers tinted nearly pink. The cultivar also develops red highlights on the margins of the leaves and turns the stems to deep red. Both versions of the plant grow best on slopes or woodland edges in rich, moist soil that is neutral to acidic and in afternoon shade. In a garden setting P. trifoliatus is drought tolerant after a few years of establishment, though achieving such tolerance will be at a slow rate. Fall brings change to this perennial much like a deciduous forest hillside, turning an entire plant’s leaves red or golden orange and yellow. - Matt Jevnikar, New England Wild Flower Society

This discovery by Virginia plantsman Paul James is the first commercially available pink-flowered form of the typically white-flowered Bowman's root. Clumps of Porteranthus trifoliatus 'Pink Profusion' emerge in late spring with 2' tall, bright red, wiry, arching stems adorned with small, cutleaf foliage. From early May through June, the clumps are topped with dainty light pink flowers that flutter in the slightest breeze. Porteranthus trifoliatus is an easy-to-grow native that tolerates most garden soils but really thrives in moist, rich, woodland soil. Thanks to plant nerd Michael Marcotrigiano at Smith College for perfecting the tissue culture protocol and for Mt. Cuba's help in making this available. Porteranthus trifoliatus was named one of the top 200 plants of the last 200 years by the Royal Horticultural Society...quite an honor. - Plant Delights Nursery

Porteranthus or Gillenia?
Apparently both names are equally correct, or incorrect depending on who you ask. This species was named Gillenia by German botanist Conrad Moench. Somewhere along the way a Professor Britton claimed Gillenia was too close to the existing shrub called Gillena and he renamed it Porteranthus in honor of his friend Prof. Thomas C. Porter. But it turns out that the plant that was Gillena was actually already named Clethra and so the name Gillenia should be used, according to the rule that older names are more correct. However, another rule states that since Gillenia was once designated a synonym it must remain so, thus making Porteranthus correct. In current usage both are seen, but Porteranthus is more often found in botanical references.

Porteranthus trifoliatus 'Pink Profusion' Growing and Maintenance Tips

Thrives in moist, acidic to neutral, humus-rich soil, but is quite drought tolerant once established. It prefers shade in the hottest part of the day. Use as backround plant in perennial beds or in mass plantings to give a full, airy effect. Somewhat slow to establish, but like Amsonia or Baptisia, Porteranthus is worth the wait!

Good Substitutions

Bowman's root Porteranthus trifoliatus

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Green Infrastructure
For Animals
Caution: Toxic
Native to North America
Propagation Type