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Mitchella repens

Common Name(s):
Partridge berry, Twinberry
Categories:
Herbs, Native Plants, Perennials, Wildflowers
Comment:

Mitchella repens, commonly called partridge berry (also partridgeberry), is an herbaceous, woodland, mat-forming, evergreen perennial that is indigenous to eastern North America. This is a prostrate plant that reaches only 2” tall but will spread by trailing stems to 12” wide or more.  

Regions: Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains 

This evergreen ground cover displays interesting foliage, flowers, and fruit. Plant in woodland/shade gardens, under trees and in part shade areas of border fronts and rock gardens. Also effective around small ponds. Many gardeners believe this ground cover is not appropriately aggressive for large areas and is best grown in smaller sites.

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Summer            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer

Wildlife Value:   This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, quail, and small mammals. 

 

Season:
Late spring, early summer
Height:
Less than 6 in.
Hardiness:
USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8
Foliage:
Partridgeberry has oval to round, opposite, glossy, dark green leaves (to 3/4” long) with whitish veins appear in pairs along the stems. The leaves are 0.5-0.7 in. long. This plant has 6-12 in. slender, trailing stems.
Flower:
Partridgeberry features fragrant, four-lobed, funnel-shaped, white flowers (to 1/2” long) which are lightly flushed with pink. The flowers bloom in spring in pairs mostly at the stem ends. They are subsequently followed by round, bright red berries that typically ripen in late summer. A pair of flowers yields one berry, hence the additional common name of twinberry for this plant. The berries, which have a tiny dimple and star-shaped marks, are edible but rather tasteless. The berries often persist on the plants throughout winter.
Habit:
Broadleaf evergreen
Site:
Partridgeberry is best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. It tolerates some drought, but best with consistent watering. The stems will root at the nodes to form colonies in optimum growing conditions. Plantings are sometimes difficult to establish.
Life Cycle:
Perennial
Tags:
fragrant, red berries, perennial, white, wildflower, winter interest, edible, shade, ground cover, partial shade, summer, songbirds, spring, colorful, showy

NCCES plant id: 2662

Mitchella repens Mitchella repens blooms
Jason Hollinger, CC BY - 2.0
Mitchella repens Mitchella repens flowering groundcover
Jill Lee , CC-BY-SA-2.0
Mitchella repens Mitchella repens groundcover with berries
Joshua Mayer, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Mitchella repens Mitchella repens bud and bloom
Distant Hill Gardens, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Mitchella repens Mitchella repens bloom and berry
Fritz Flohr Reynolds, CC BY-NC-2.0