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Jeffersonia diphylla - Twinleaf

Jeffersonia diphylla, Twinleaf

Scientific Name: Jeffersonia diphylla

Common Name: Twinleaf

Description: Hardy, North American perennial; small white flowers resembling those of bloodroot appear on stems in early spring before the leaves expand; unusual lidded seedpods mature in early summer; plants often go completely dormant in summer

Size: Grows to 10 inches high and 12 inches wide

Cultural Information: Prefers shade and woodsy, moderately moist soils

USDA Zones: 6 through 8

Historical Notes: In 1792, this rare and desirable native woodland perennial was named to honor Thomas Jefferson by Benjamin Smith Barton, the "Father of American Botany." Jefferson grew the plant at Monticello in one of the oval flower beds in 1807.1 The attractive flowers last only a few days, often appearing about the time of Jefferson's April 13th birthday.

Twinleaf is well worth growing for its lush green foliage, which makes a beautiful groundcover for a shaded site. It is easy to grow, but is very slow to propagate and takes 5 to 8 years to bloom from seed. The CHP plants are nursery-propagated plants.

- Peggy Cornett, 2004

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 ...."2

Further Sources


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