Tiarella trifoliata L.
three-leaved foamflower (cut-leaved foamflower (var. laciniata); one-leaved foamflower (var. unifoliata); threeleaf foamflower; three-leaved foamflower (var. trifoliata))
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Paul Dawson     (Photo ID #86263)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Tiarella trifoliata
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial herb from scaly rhizomes; flowering stems 20-50 cm tall, with a few leaves, glandular-hairy above.
Basal leaves heart-shaped, 3-12 cm wide, about as long, simple and shallowly to deeply 3- to 5-lobed or compound with 3 stalked leaflets that are lobed or deeply cleft, almost to the base, toothed, hairy and usually glandular, the stalks longer than blades, stipules about 1 cm long; stem leaves similar to the basal, 2 or 3, reduced; stipules to 1 mm long.
Inflorescence a narrow, many-flowered, terminal cluster, up to 15 cm long, densely glandular-hairy; petals 3-4 mm long, thread-like; calyces bell-shaped, 1.5-2.5 mm long, glandular-hairy, hypanthium bell-shaped, free of ovary, lobed 1/2 to 2/3 length, lobes irregular, the upper lobe largest; stamens 10.
Capsules, borne horizontally, one valve 3-5 mm long, the other 7-10 mm long; seeds blackish, about 1.5 mm long, shining, nearly smooth.
Three infraspecific taxa have been recognized. These taxa are widely sympatric but var. trifoliata generally occurs at lower elevations (up to 650 m), while var. unifoliata generally occurs above 650 m. Variety laciniata is a hybrid between the latter two and occurs frequently on Vancouver Island and sporadically on the mainland.

1. Leaves simple, shallowly to deeply 3- to 5-lobed........... var. unifoliata (Hook.) Kurtz1.

1. Leaves compound, with 3 stalked leaflets.

2. Leaflets lobed............. var. trifoliata

2. Leaflets deeply cleft, almost to the base............. var. laciniata (Hook.) Wheelock

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Tiarella trifoliata

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
665 0 2750
Slope Gradient (%)
20 0 350

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

345 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

AT(1), BWBS(7), CDF(170), CWH(2337), ESSF(823), ICH(867), IDF(10), MH(129), MS(22), PP(1), SBPS(7), SBS(938), SWB(2)

Habitat and Range

Moist forests, meadows and streambanks in the lowland and montane to subalpine zones; common throughout BC south of 58degreeN; N to the Aleutian Islands and S AK, E to AB and S to MT, ID and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia