1aA native of North America, twinleaf is found in damp woods on limestone soil from Ontario, Canada, south to Georgia and Alabama, and northwest to Iowa and Minnesota. It is an uncommon plant and considered endangered in New Jersey and Georgia, and threatened in New York and Iowa. In spring rhizomes send up four to eight purplish leaves that gradually turn bluish green. Each leaf is deeply divided into two lobes so that it looks like two separate leaves and resembles a butterfly. The leaves grow to be six to seven inches long and may have wavy margins. The white flowers are borne on leafless stems eight inches tall and usually have eight delicate petals that fall with the slightest disturbance. The flowers are rarely visited by insects and usually self pollinate. The fruit is a capsule with a lid that pops off to release the seeds during the summer when mature. The seeds are shiny and contain fat bodies that are attractive to ants that aid in seed dissemination. Plants form attractive clumps and do especially well under deciduous trees where they get sun in the spring but are shaded in summer. Twinleaf may be confused with bloodroot which has similar flowers but can be distinguished by the unique two lobed leaves that give it is common name.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Flowers with eight delicate white petals are carried on leafless stems eight inches tall in spring

Size: 8-18” H x 6-8” W

Light: Partial shade to shade

Soil: Humusy, moist, neutral to alkaline; tolerates some drought when well established

Hardiness: Zones 5-7

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, division

Companion plants: Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), Trillium, Epimedium, Mayapple (Podophyllum pelatum), violets, ferns.

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By Karen