Mitella nuda (Naked Miterwort)
|Also known as:||Small Bishop's Cap|
|Habitat:||shade; cedar swamps, cool sphagnum bogs, damp mossy woods|
|Bloom season:||April - June|
|Plant height:||3 to 8 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: OBL MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Raceme of 2 to 15 stalked flowers at the end of the slender stem. Flowers are about ¼ inch across with 5 egg-shaped to triangular petal-like sepals, spreading or curled back; color is yellowish green, whitish green or with a reddish cast. The true petals are between the sepals, feathery with 9 to 11 thread-like lobes. 10 yellow tipped stamens surround the ovary in the center. Petals are present in early bloom but often knocked away by wear and tear before the sepals wither.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are mostly basal, roundly heart to kidney shaped, 1 to 1½ inches long and about as wide, unlobed or with 3 shallow lobes, on a long slender stalk. Leaf edges have irregular rounded teeth and may be hairy. Occasionally a small single stalkless leaf is attached midstem. Surfaces of leaves and stem are hairy, the upper stem and upper leaf surfaces glandular.
This small fragile flower is easy to miss if not stepped on, in the mossy forest floor. Plants spread by rhizomes through the mossy surface and can form large clumps scattered about. If you can spot one you'll see them all over. Naked Miterwort is not likely confused with the related Two-leaf Miterwort (Mitella diphylla), a much taller plant with white flowers.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin, Anoka, Cass and Hubbard counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?