Mitella diphylla

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: brewer's-cap 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Saxifragaceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

Culture

Best grown in medium moisture, organically rich, well-draining soils in part shade. Can tolerate drier soils or full shade conditions. Hardy in Zones 3-7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Mitella diphylla, commonly called twoleaf miterwort or bishop's cap, is a woodland species native to the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States where it is found in high quality mesic forests growing on moist, mossy ledges and north-facing slopes. The basal foliage of this plant resembles that of Heuchera, with long, finely hairy stalks, a cordate shape, and serrated edges (up to 4" long). The flowering stalk can reach up to 12" tall, with small, white flowers spaced up to 1" apart along the stem. A spring bloomer (April-June), the flowers are only 1/8" in diameter with five fringed, recurved, white petals, giving the appearance of a snowflake. Best viewed with a magnifying glass or hand lens. Two opposite, nearly clasping leaves are found on the flowering stalk below the flower clusters. Small black seeds are held in open, upward facing mature fruit capsules, and are splash dispersed by raindrops.

The genus Mitella means "little miter", in reference to the shape of the mature seed capsules resembling a miter, a headdress worn by bishops in certain traditional Christian sects.

The specific ephithet diphylla means "two-leaved", in reference to the two, opposite, cauline (non-basal) leaves on the flowering stalk.

Many common names for this plant refer in some combination to two characteristics: 1.) the two, opposite, cauline leaves on the flowering stalk, and 2.) the shape of the mature seed capsules resembling a miter, a headdress worn by bishops in certain traditional Christian sects.

Problems

This plant is slow to establish and picky about its growing conditions. Otherwise there are no known pest or disease issues.

Garden Uses

A jewel of the spring shade garden. Plant close enough to a path that the small flowers can be enjoyed up close.