Jeffersonia diphylla (Twinleaf)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade; rich woods|
|Bloom season:||April - May|
|Plant height:||4 to 18 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stem:
Leaves are basal on slender stalks, they are deeply cleft at the tip and base, appearing to be a pair of leaves mirroring each other. Each half is typically somewhat oval with a pointed tip, but may be lobed or coarsely toothed or wavy around the edges. A few scale-like leaves surround the base of the plant. During the bloom season, leaves may only be about an inch long, on stalks shorter than the flowers. As fruit develops both flowering stems and leaf stalks elongate and leaves can enlarge up to 4 inches long.
Fruit is a leathery capsule ¾ to 1½ inches long, splitting open along a seam around the upper half, the top resembling a lid. Inside are oblong seeds about ¼ inch long.
Twinleaf is a Special Concern species in both Minnesota and Wisconsin; Minnesota is on the northwest fringe of its range and this species is only found in our most southeastern counties. According to the DNR, much of its forest habitat has succumbed to agriculture and development and it now faces additional threats from non-native invasive species. Twinleaf flowers look very similar to Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), which has distinctly different leaves that are larger, more round in outline, and lobed in 3 to 9 parts.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis and in a private garden in Dakota County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?