Pinkroot – Spigelia marilandica

Pink Root - Spigelia marilandica, photos by Steven Foster

Overall At-Risk Score: 35

Latin name:

Spigelia marilandica

Common Name:

Woodland Pinkroot, Indian Pink


Loganiaceae (Loganias family)




S. marilandica produces flowers in June that seed in early fall and use hummingbirds as the primary pollinators.

Geographic Region:

Pinkroot lives in most of the Southern U.S., centered around northern Mississippi. It can be found in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.


Pinkroot prefers part to full shade and rich moist soil and lives in forests and wooded stream borders.

Ability to Withstand Disturbance and Overharvest:

The primary concern when it comes to the disturbance of this species is other plants taking over its habitat. Pinkroot doesn’t handle growing around aggressive plants well and can easily be overcome by the presence of fast-growing invasive species.

Status of Endangered/Threatened (by state):

Spigelia marilandica is “Endangered” in Indiana.

Spigelia marilandica has not yet been evaluated by the IUCN Red List.

Part of Plant Used/Active Medicinal Compounds:

Spigelia marilandica was used historically by the Cherokee and the Creek to treat worms. It is important to note that every part of this plant contains the alkaloid spigiline, which is considered the active medicinal component but is also poisonous to humans. Symptoms include dimness in vision, nausea and vomiting, dilation of the eyes, and convulsions.


Demand for pinkroot is on the rise, particularly by gardeners who prize the plant for its beautiful blooms that attract hummingbirds to shade gardens.

Recommendations For Industrial and Home Use:

Luckily, wild-harvest is on the decline as the popularity of pinkroot in horticulture increases. If you are planning on planting this species, make sure it is from a nursery that cultivates it, and please talk to your doctor before taking Spigelia marilandica or any other medicinal plant.


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