Enjoy Native Twinleaf’s Delicate Flowers in Your Woodland Garden

| 5/29/2020 10:58:00 AM

Anyone who has completed the first grade will hopefully remember learning what a plant nerd our third president was, but few know that there’s a plant named in his honor. Yes, it’s true, Jeffersonia diphylla, otherwise known as “Twinleaf” is named in honor of Tommy Jefferson and just happens to be one of my favorite early spring plants.

I almost referred to it as “one of my favorite early spring ephemerals,” but that would only be half true. Half true because as fragile as the pure white, silver dollar-sized flowers are (they can be shattered by a drop of dew), this almost shrub-like plant is persistent all the growing season long.

That’s especially true if planted in full shade and given some extra water during dry spells.

Making its home in the Berberidaceae family — the same family as “May Apple”, “Blue Cohosh” and, believe it or not, the invasive, horrible “Barberry” — Jeffersonia diphylla is one of our least known and most desirable native plants.

Surprisingly, it does quite well in my somewhat low-pH woodland gardens. I say surprisingly because in nature, Jeffersonia chooses to grow in high-pH limestone soils. Yet another testament to the ability of so many plants to accept and adapt to a wide range of growing conditions.

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