Miterwort (Mitella diphylla)


The Miterwort is a flower that rewards a close examination: a casual glance would never reveal the intricate snowflake fringes on the individual flowers. These plants were blooming in late April along the Trillium Trail in Fox Chapel.

Gray describes the genus and the species:

MITELLA [Tourn.] L. MITERWORT, BISHOP’S CAP. Calyx short, adherent to the base of the ovary, 6-cleft. Petals 5, slender. Stamens 5 or 10, included. Styles 2, very short. Capsule short, 2-beaked, 1-celled, with 2 parietal or rather basal several-seeded placentae, 2-valved at the summit. Seeds smooth and shining. Low and slender perennials, with round heart-shaped alternate slender-petioled leaves on the rootstock or runners, and naked or 2-few-leaved flowering steins. Flowers small, in a simple slender raceme or spike. Fruit soon widely dehiscent. (Diminutive ofmitra, a cap, alluding to the form of the young pod.)

M. diphylla L. Hairy; leaves heart-shaped, acute, somewhat 3-5-lobed, toothed, those on the many-flowered stem 2, opposite, nearly sessile, with interfoliar stipules; flowers white, in a raceme (1.5-2 dm. long); stamens 10. Rich woods, Que. and N. E. to N. C., w. to Minn., Ia., and Mo. May.


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