Category: Saxifragaceae

  • Miterwort (Mitella diphylla)

    A flower that rewards close examination for its fringed petals, the fringes growing like ice crystals on a pane of glass. It likes rich woods, especially in stream valleys; this plant grew in the Squaw Run valley, where it was blooming in late April.

    Gray describes the genus and the species:


    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 of mitra, a cap, alluding to the form of the young pod.)

    1. 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.

  • Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)


    Somewhat uncommon here, but found on some wooded hillsides; these plants grew near the Trillium Trail in Fox Chapel. They bloom around the first of May, just when the trilliums and Virginia Bluebells are at their peak.

    From Gray’s Manual:

    Calyx bell-shaped, 5-parted. Petals 5, with claws. Stamens long and slender. Styles 2. Capsule membranaceous, 2-valved; the valves unequal. Seeds few, at the base of each parietal placenta, globular, smooth. Perennials ; flowers white. (Name a diminutive from tiara, a tiara, or turban, from the form of the pistil, which is like that of Mitella, to which the name of Miterwort properly belongs.)

    1. T. cordifolia L. Leaves from the rootstock or summer runners, heart-shaped, sharply lobed and toothed, sparsely hairy above, downy beneath; stem (1-4 dm. high) leafless or rarely with 1 or 2 leaves ; raceme simple ; petals oblong, often subserrate. Rich rocky woods, N. S. and N. B. to Minn., Ind., and southw. in the mts. Apr.-June.