I planted them in exactly the wrong spot, in too much sun, in dry soil. They normally grow in woodland shade near streams.
I put the six little plants along a raised free draining berm, competing with spruce tree roots and facing full west.
And yet, in hot sun those six tiny plants spread and filled in to become a stunning ground cover all along the berm. Out in the sun they have grown dense and twiggy and full. They color beautifully in fall, all coppery and bronze.
This is yellowroot, Xanthorrhiza simplicissima.
Not only did those six little plants spread into this curving stretch of dense ground cover, but I have dug and moved many to other spots, I have dug several to give away, and I have dug out a lot that were crowding the spruces and hollies. This woody one foot high shrub covers ground.
It's not aggressive, or a problem. It just happily bulks up and stretches out.
In my garden, in the sun, it seems to be on steroids.
In summer the foliage is a clear, light green. The leaves look like celery and the roots really are bright yellow. It roots easily, wherever a stem touches the ground.
In April the upright woody stems sport subtle fuzzy purple flowers, just as the leaves emerge.
I did not do my homework when I planted yellowroot. I did not even consider the moisture or light conditions it needed. I never intended a sweep of ground cover under the spruces, I thought I'd just have six little yellowroot clumps scattered about for effect between the spruces.
But this plant likes me.
It likes me a lot, and has performed beautifully in all the wrong conditions.