Mitella diphylla (Two-leaf Miterwort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Bishop's Cap
Genus:Mitella
Family:Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:part shade, shade; rich woods
Bloom season:April - June
Plant height:10 to 18 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
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] Short-stalked flowers are widely spaced in a spike-like raceme up to 12 inches long at the tip of the stem. Individual flowers are about 1/8 inch across and have 5 white feathery or fringed petals that curve back. In the center is a ring of 10 yellow-tipped stamens. The calyx is cup-shaped, pale green to yellowish with 5 triangular lobes. The calyx and flower stalks are covered in short, glandular hairs.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of stem leaves] A single pair of opposite leaves is on the stem below the flower cluster, and is where the “two-leaf” common name originates. These leaves are up to 2½ inches long and 1½ inches wide, coarsely toothed and usually shallowly lobed in 3 parts. It may appear that the leaves are joined around the stem, but they are not.

[photo of basal leaves] There are also basal leaves that are more heart-shaped, up to 4 inches long and 3 inches wide, on long stalks, often with 5 shallow lobes. All leaves are finely hairy. Stems are multiple from the base and densely covered in short hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] The calyx persists and forms a bowl containing tiny, shiny black seeds.

Notes:

This delicate beauty is one of the woodland spring ephemerals that grace Minnesota starting in April. It makes a wonderful shade garden plant.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Goodhue County and in a private garden in Ramsey County.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Jerod - Spring Valley, Filmore county
on: 2014-05-18 21:39:18

A new flower for us, It took a while to identify.

Posted by: Melody Morrell - Brook Park/Mora
on: 2014-06-13 08:08:25

We have this growing around the edge of the woods in our yard. The flowers look a little like snowflakes. Once the flowers are finished, the seed pods look like little mouths full of tiny black caviar.

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