Nature's endless variation! Yellowroot sure doesn't look like a buttercup, does it. This crown of leaves and cluster of blooms were on a stick a couple of feet tall. Not too many woody sticks in the buttercup family. The leaves are arranged in a spiral. Yellowroot is easily recognizable, so of course it was used in herbal medicine. The Choctaw and Cherokee people, a later European immigrants used extracts to treat a variety of ailments. By the time of our Civil War medicines from yellowroot were being patented. Great grandpa would have almost certainly taken some. Even now up to 250,000 pounds of it are sold here each year. One reason for this is the unfounded belief that using it can protect you from discovery if you are tested for illegal drugs. Yellowroot gets its name because those roots are a source of yellow dye. Yellowroot is a woodland plant in AL, CT, FL, GA, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WV. Chester Co PA, 4/21/21. Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae.