Rodgersia pinnata Franch.

First published in Nouv. Arch. Mus. Hist. Nat., sér. 2, 10: 176 (1887 publ. 1888)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is China (E. Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou) to Myanmar. It is a perennial or rhizomatous geophyte and grows primarily in the temperate biome.


Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Rodgersia pinnata is a large, spreading perennial with bold divided leaves, tall branching lower stems, and masses of small pink flowers.

Rodgersia pinnata is a perennial that forms spreading clumps of bold, divided, strongly-veined leaves, and has tall flower stems with feathery sprays of small, pink flowers. The whole plant is coarse and upright, and forms a striking feature in a damp position.

R. pinnata was named and described by the French botanist Adrien Franchet in 1888, while studying the collections that were made between Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan by the French explorer, Père Delavay. Seeds of R. pinnata were sent to Kew by the Irish plantsman Augustine Henry in 1898, and first flowered there in 1902. Henry collected the seed north of Mengtze in western Yunnan, where plants were found growing on cliffs at 2,438 m.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Native to western China, where it is found in Yunnan, Guizhou and southern and eastern Sichuan, at 2,000 - 3,800 m above sea level.


Overview: A stout perennial with a thick, shortly creeping rhizome (underground stem), eventually forming large, spreading clumps. 

Leaves:  The leaves are up to 1 m long and are pinnate (divided into leaflets), with 2-4 leaflets on either side and a similar terminal leaflet, and sometimes with a whorl of four leaflets at the base. The leaflets are oblanceolate, ribbed and up to 20 cm long. 

Flowers: The flowering stems are 60-125 cm long, with three or four stem leaves. The inflorescence is compound, with cyme-like branches. The flowers are around 5 mm across and are white, pale pink or reddish, with 5 glandular-hairy sepals, and no petals. Each flower has ten stamens (male parts) and two styles (female parts).

Fruits: The fruit is a purple capsule about 7 mm long.


Rodgersia pinnata is cultivated as an ornamental for damp soils. The crushed roots of a related species, R. aesculifolia , are used in Chinese herbal medicine for treating malignant sores.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: One

This species at Kew

Rodgersia pinnata can be seen growing alongside streams in the Rock Garden at Kew, where it flowers from June to September.

Pressed and dried specimens of Rodgersia pinnata , including some collected by Père Delavay and Ernest Wilson, are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers from around the world, by appointment. The details of some of these specimens, including images, can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

Forests, forest margins, alpine meadows, rocky mountainsides and wet cliffs.
Not known to be threatened.

None known.





  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2023 World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Science Photographs

    • Copyright applied to individual images
  • Kew Species Profiles

    • Kew Species Profiles