Friday, December 30, 2011

Partridge Berry

Mitchella repens
A very low, trailing, dense mat-forming, woody, evergreen groundcover, reaching up to 6 ( averaging 3 ) inches in height, that slowly spreads to a maximum width of up to 20 feet over 30 years, though easily contained. Its average width in about 10 years is only 3.3 feet with the stems rooting at the nodes. Partridge Berry is a native of dry acidic woodlands in eastern North America ( from northern Minnesota to Thunder Bay, Ontario to Batchewana, Ontario to Temagami, Ontario to Nova Scotia; south to eastern Texas to central Florida ). There is a report from much further north at Lansdowne House, Ontario. It is endangered in Iowa and Oklahoma. It was moderately common on the Ohio shore during the 1800s but has declined since. Partridge Berry looks especially great along woodland pathways.
The attractive oppositely-arranged, rounded leaves, up to 1.3 x 1 inches, are glossy deep green with white veining.
The fragrant, tiny, pinkish-white, funnel-shaped flowers, up to 0.5 inches in length, are borne paired during late spring.
They are followed by edible, scarlet-red berries, up to 0.3 inches wide, during autumn, persisting through most of the winter.
Hardy zones 2 to 9 in partial to full shade on fertile, neutral to acidic, humus-rich, well drained soil. It thrives best under conifers such as Spruce and Hemlock where leaf little isn't heavy. It is important to removed fallen leaves during autumn as they can easily smother this plant. Propagation is from seed and naturally layered stems. Transplanting should be done during spring before growth begins.

* Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA SCS. 1991. Southern wetland flora

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photos taken on Apr 27 2015 in Western Regional Park, Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Nov 27 2015 @ Hickory Run State Park, PA

* photo taken on Aug 20 2016 in Olney, MD

* photos taken Aug 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photos taken on Sep 16 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photo taken on Sep 25 2016 near Reisterstown, MD

* historic archive photo

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