This rare and desirable native woodland perennial was named to honor Thomas Jefferson in 1792 by the "Father of American Botany," Benjamin Smith Barton. Jefferson's granddaughter, Anne Cary Randolph Bankhead, noted the plant in one of Monticello's oval flower beds in 1807. The attractive flowers last only a few days and bloom in the spring about the time of Jefferson's April 13th birthday.

Twinleaf is a North American perennial with small white flowers resembling those of Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) appear on stems on early spring, before the leaves have expanded. The unusual lidded seedpods mature in early June and often go completely dormant in summer.

Twinleaf is well worth growing for its lush green leaves, which make a beautiful groundcover for a shaded site. While Twinleaf is an easy plant to grow, it is very slow to propagate, taking 5 to 8 years to bloom from seed.

Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Twinleaf.

Typical Blooming Dates: Mid-March–Early April
Growth Type: Perennial
Blossom Color(s): White
Hardiness Zones: 6–8
Location at Monticello: West Lawn
Planting Conditions: Prefers shade and woodsy, moderately moist soils
Size: Grows to 10 inches high and 12 inches wide

Primary Source References

1807 November 9. (Anne Cary Randolph Bankhead to Jefferson). "I left Monticello they had increased so much as to fill the beds quite full ... Jeffersonia ... failed ...."