June 24, 2006

Partridgeberry

Partridge berry - Mitchella repansThis charming little native creeper, Mitchella repens came along for the ride with ferns from the woods. It is blooming now in obscure corners of my back yard.

The tiny flowers with hairy petals come in pairs and if both are fertilized, they will form a single, lobed, bright red berry that can easily persist for a year. The leaves are also evergreen. I find partridgeberry to be a slow grower, although, like most creepers, the stems will root easily on contact with the soil. I have it here in a very woodsy kind of environment, as you can see by the leaves and the pine needles.

Partridgeberry is quite a tough customer, but will not survive in a dry setting. Don't ask me how I know. Cuttings can be taken and rooted simply by sticking them in damp soil elsewhere in the garden. This is definitely a plant for lovers of the subtle and the natural. If your tastes run more to peonies and brugmansias, you may want to pass on this one.

Unless you're like me, and you love them all...

2 comments:

Xris said...

In what kind of woods do you see partridgeberry? I've only ever seen it happy in the wild at the bases of hemlocks in sandy soil.

Janet said...

Xris, this was dug up for me by the owner of an acreage outside of town. All I can really tell you is that his property is indeed sandy and that it did come from a wooded area, although not a densely wooded one.