Two Belly Buttons?


Partridgeberry, also known as twinflower, is blooming now. This relative of the coffee plant is unusual in that the fruit develops at the joined bases of two flowers. To see for yourself, check out a little red partridgeberry –each one has two “bellybuttons,” composed of the remains of the flowers that formed it.   (You know the clump of little dried sepals on the bottom of an apple? Each patridgeberry has two such clumps.) The scientific name is Mitchella repens — botanist Carolus Linnaeus named the genus after American physician John Mitchell who helped Linnaeus with information about the flora of America. “Repens” refers to the fact that the plant hugs the ground.  Partridgeberries are edible — not highly nutritious, but rather a tasty novelty. And you probably won’t be stealing food from the wildlife if you try one — the berries are low in nutrients and so are often left by overwintering birds and other wildlife until other food sources have been exhausted.

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