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Out in the woods

Sanguinaria capsules were not ready to collect as I thought, but  everything looks green and lush which is very good news after last year’s terrible drought. Medeola, Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), Cornus rugosa and Viburnum acerifolium were flowering; Lonicera canadensis berries were beckoning in the filtered shade and Mitella seeds were ready, waiting in their little cups. About Mitella I knew because I have it in the garden ;)

Mitella diphylla – Two-leaved bishop’s mitre; combines beautifully with Uvularia (in the background), Trillium, Thalictrum dioicum, Hepatica and many other species which like part-shade locations.

It has been added on the Canada 150 Celebration list sale! 

Snowflakes by design: Mitella diphylla

Myriads of Mitella diphylla flowers are still falling from the sky. I noticed that not too many people are familiar with this dainty North American woodlander; what a pity…

It can be found in deciduous woodlands in part shaded areas, most often at the edges of the forest; easily noticeable despite its small flowers, it will flower somewhere at the beginning of May. A better timetable is to consider that it flowers at the same time with Trillium grandiflorum, Uvularia grandiflora and Coptis trifolia.

Mitella diphylla, Two-leaved bishop’s cap (Fam. Saxifragaceae) – Tall flowering stems carrying small, fringed, snowflakes shaped flowers above a pair of leaves. Fruits are dehiscent capsules with many small, black seeds.

Mitella is not an easy subject to capture on camera

What I like even more about it is that the basal leaves are evergreen; a most useful character in our climate with long flowerless periods. I cannot take a picture in the garden right now, but I have one from the previous garden showing it together with Cyclamen hederifolium and Hepatica in late November.

Mitella diphylla, Cyclamen and Hepatica foliage in November

Propagation: easy from seeds (sown in the fall) and mine has started to flower in the third year. After it gets established it can also be divided (it forms a rather tight clump so there is no worry about potential invasiveness).

Mitella diphylla seeds

The genus name Mitella comes from the Greek ‘mitra’= cap and the common name bishop’s cap or mitrewort refers to the cap-shaped fruit.