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Jeffersonia diphylla

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: acid, rich

Height: 12"-18"

Bloom Time: March, April, May

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7

Additional Tags: medicinal, shade garden plant

Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf)
  • Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf)
  • Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf)
  • Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf)
  • Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf)

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Description

Jeffersonia diphylla

Also known as:

twinleaf

,

twin leaf

,

rheumatism root

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

If not one of the woodland wonders of the world, a woodland is certainly more wonderful with it. Like many spring wildflowers, Jeffersonia diphylla blooms soon after emerging from beneath the leaf litter. The large white flowers resemble those of bloodroot and remain very briefly (don't sneeze around these flowers). The unusual paired leaves emerge pinkish and look like a pair of lungs. Seed pods on stalks have hinged lids that open to drop shiny, brown seeds for ants to scatter. Snip off the stalk with the empty seed pod, turn it upside down and you have a Colonial or Indian pipe.

Cultivation

A shade loving plant, twinleaf is found in rich, damp woods over limestone. It combines well with dwarf larkspur, blue cohosh, and Dutchman's breeches (to name a few). An early spring garden attraction, it may bloom as early as March and as late as May. Zones 4-7

Propagation

Easily propagated with fresh seeds, though plants may take years to mature using this method. Roots do not like to be disturbed, but mature plants may be carefully divided at the end of their growing season.

Additional Notes

One of only two species from this genus, the other one native to Japan. Jeffersonia diphylla has been used in traditional medicine to treat urinary and intestinal ailments, and topically to sooth sores and ulcers.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, DC, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MN, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: GA, NJ
  • Threatened: IA, NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Magnoliidae
Order Ranunculales
Family Berberidaceae Barberry family
Genus Jeffersonia twinleaf
Species Jeffersonia diphylla twinleaf