Mitella nuda (Naked Miterwort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Small Bishop's Cap
Family:Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
Life cycle:perennial
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] 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: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] 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.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruits are small, somewhat flattened two valved capsules that open flat to reveal two clusters of shiny black seeds.


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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More photos

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?

Posted by: JoAnn - White Bear Lake
on: 2016-03-17 06:57:05

Wow--picture 5 looks just like my back yard. I could easily pull this out with all the Creeping Charlie!

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2016-03-17 08:02:07

Not to worry, JoAnn, since Mitella nuda doesn't grow in lawns, unless your yard is a moss-covered bog or swamp. :-)

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