This is a wildflower that I noticed not because of its blossom, but rather due to its fruit, which resembles a green acorn. I came across it last Summer and went back in April of this year to see its flowers.
Twinleaf’s large, conspicuous blooms feature eight snowy-white petals which drop within a day or so. This plant is a perennial and often forms small colonies.
This wildflower features long-stemmed, blue-green leaves up to 6 inches long, which are deeply divided into two lobes that give the appearance of being two separate leaves, hence the common name.
Its unusual seed pods are on stalks that have hinged lids that open to drop shiny, brown seeds for ants to scatter.
This showy wildflower’s scientific name, Jeffersonia diphylla, commemorates our third president, Thomas Jefferson, who was a great naturalist and once president of the American Philosophical Society, which by the late 1700’s was the country’s leading scientific organization.
Unlike many of Ohio’s Spring wildflowers, Twinleaf is not a true spring ephemeral, as its leaves remain green and actively produce chlorophyll throughout summer. It tends to grow in the rich, damp soils of deciduous forests.
This neat plant is also known as Helmet Pod, Ground Squirrel Pea and is enjoyable to encounter on my northeast Ohio hikes.