Plant types and subtypes: Perennials
Light Requirements: part-shade, shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: moist
Soil Description: acid, rich
Bloom Time: March, April, May
Bloom Color: white
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7
Additional Tags: medicinal, shade garden plant
Pricing & Availability
Jeffersonia diphyllaAlso known as:
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.
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
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.
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
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