Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry)
|Also known as:||Two-eyed Berry, Twin Berry|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry to moist. sandy soil, rich woods, rocky outcrops|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||4 to 12 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in pairs at the end of a stem. Individual flowers are 1/3 to ½ inch across, with a long slender tube and typically 4 pointed flaring lobes, rarely with 3, 5 or 6 lobes. The inner surfaces of the flower are densely covered in white fuzz. Flowers have 2 forms on different plants (heterostylic), one with 4 long pinkish stamens and a short pistil hidden in the tube, the other a long white pistil with the stamens hidden in the tube. In both cases, the ovaries of both flowers are fused at the base so a single fruit with 2 “eyes” develops.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are evergreen, round to egg shaped, ½ to ¾ inch long, with a waxy surface, smooth edges, a whitish midrib and short leaf stalk, oppositely attached. Slender, smooth stems spread along the ground, rooting at leaf nodes and forming large mats. Individual stems can be up to 12 inches long.
Notes:Partridgeberry is not common to run across and like many wildflowers the bloom period is relatively short. It is not one of those species you go looking for but rather an unexpected happenstance. One of the sites had a very large mat that was apparent in it's dark green mass from a considerable distance and recognizing it we returned later in the season for the bloom period. The other site had just a little clump on the northside of a large oak as I was wandering along and I could have easily passed by—I was unable to relocate it in subsequent years. Big and showy flowers can be big and showy but tiny and exquisite flowers are simply delightful.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Partridgeberry plants
- a large mat of Partridgeberry
- ground view of flowers, long pistil
- side view of flowers, long stamens
Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at two Scientific and Natural Areas in Anoka and Washington counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?