Mitchella repens – Partridge berry, twinberry, squaw vine
This is also in praise of little plants because partridge berry is a ‘ground hugger’, forming an excellent, evergreen carpet of small, rounded, shiny leaves with a whitish main vein. I can imagine it flowing over a big shaded boulder, mossy woodland humps or over a stony wall. But, sadly I have never seen it cultivated – little plants have sometimes difficulties to getting noticed…
Well-known and used traditionally by the Native Americans as a women’s herb (aid in menstrual complaints and childbirth, hence the name squaw vine); tested and still recommended by the modern herbal medicine. The berries were also used occasionally as food.
Note: The name Mitchella was chosen by C. Linnaeus to honor his friend John Mitchell. A physician, keen naturalist and cartographer; he set up practice in America and over the years provided Linnaeus with information about many North American species, partridge berry included.
Thanks to someone’s comment regarding Mitchella cultivation, I realized I should mention that it is often found growing close to Gaultheria procumbens or on top of moss mounds, which indicates its inclination for a slightly acidic substrate. Give it a try! – not necessarily from seeds; the stems are easily rooting at the nodes and a small portion can be used same as a cutting (already rooted ;).