There are four varieties of foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia)… the variety that is most common here has the characteristic leaves that look like maple leaves, but with more rounded edges. This woodland plant grows abundantly in the northeastern United States, and we have large clumps growing naturally near one of our paths. We keep the area around them trimmed and the clump sizes keep increasing.
Foam flower leaves are dark green and have many fine hairs on the top side of the leaf. The plants grow in large clumps with the leaves growing close to the ground and the flowers growing on tall stalks, up to about a foot high.
At the ends of each flower stalk are rows of tiny white flowers, with each individual flower having its own little stem and yellow stamens coming out of each flower.
Foam flower is a member of the saxifrage family and is sometimes called “false mitrewort” because it is sometimes confused with the real mitrewort. One way to tell the difference between the two is to look for two tiny green leaves appearing opposite each other halfway up each flower stalk. Foam flower does not have any leaves on the flower stalk, but the real mitrewort does. Mitrewort is also smaller than foam flower and the mitrewort flower stalks do not have as many individual flowers.
Foam flowers bloom here in May and into June. The flowers are very delicate and have a lacy look.
The color and texture are different, but the leaves of this plant are shaped very much like the heucheras I grow.