Foamflower is a beautiful, clumping flowering perennial with immense versatility for shady gardens, featuring racemes of starry florets with a “foamy” effect above foot-tall mounds of attractive basal foliage. The leaf shape may vary from almost heart-shaped to deeply lobed with pronounced venation, and the leaf veins are often tinged with burgundy. Naturally occurring populations show a lot of variability in leaf shape and color patterns, and the nursery trade has introduced many cultivars exploiting these differences. Taxonomists have divided the species into two varieties: Tiarella cordifolia var. cordifolia (Allegheny Foamflower) and T. cordifolia var. collina (formerly Tiarella wherryi). The two are similar in appearance, but Allegheny Foamflower is a bit shorter, and most significantly, it is stoloniferous and spreads fairly quickly to form a groundcover. In contrast, Wherry’s Foamflower, a little taller, partitions its energy into more flower production rather than into stoloniferous offsets. You might say Wherry’s Foamflower is more respectful of limited garden space. Also, the distribution of Wherry’s Foamflower is more southerly and it is therefore more tolerant of heat and humidity. Foamflower is found on stream edges and moist woodland sites. It prefers evenly moist, slightly acidic to neutral soil in light shade where it will complement other shady plants like ferns, Solomon’s Seal, and Dwarf Crested Iris. Foamflower looks lovely planted along shady walkways, mixed in a landscape, or in stand-alone colonies. Both varieties of Foamflower won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 1993, and the Georgia Native Plant Society selected Foamflower as the organization’s 2003 Plant of the Year.