Fall Wildflowers of New England
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Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens
F. Rubiaceae
Mitchella repens
General Description:

Partridgeberry is a low lying creeper with stems measuring 10-30 cm. in length. This wildflower is easily identified by its unique, two-lobed, red berries, and impressive, paired, white, tubular flowers. The glossy green leaves are small and broad with a conspicuous white midvein.

Flowers:

The radially symmetrical flowers are long and tubular, measuring 13-16 mm. in length. Each creamy white bloom has a fused, funnel-shaped corolla that opens into four, roundly reflexed lobes exposing multiple stamens and styles of varying size. Flowers come in pairs and are united by a fused calyx and ovarian structure forming a V.

Fruit:

The bright red (sometimes white) berries of this wildflower are two-lobed as a result of the fused ovarian structure of the flowers.

Leaves:

The broad and rounded leaves of this creeper are small, measuring 1.5-2 cm. in length, and are glossy green with a conspicuous white midvein. The leaves are several and are oppositely arranged along the length of each stem

Habitat:

Partridgeberry grows best in dry or moist wooded areas

Fun Facts:

Partridgeberry is an edible plant. The berries are satisfyingly fleshy, although not very tasty, and the leaves can be dried as a herb.

Native Americans made partridgeberry leaf tea to aid in childbirth.

As evidenced by its name, partridgeberry berries were thought to be eaten by partridges and other woodland fowl, however, this wildflower does not appear to be a critical or popular food source.

Partridgeberry's highly ornamental, evergreen leaves serve as popular ground covers in gardens and landscaped areas.

Mitchella repens
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