Mitchella repens

Common Names: Partridge berry, partridgeberry, squaw vine
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Coffee family

Partridge berry is an evergreen plant growing as a non-climbing vine, no taller than 6 cm tall with creeping stems 15 to 30 cm long. The evergreen, dark green, shiny leaves are ovate to cordate in shape. The leaves have a pale yellow midrib. The petioles are short, and the leaves are paired oppositely on the stems. Adventitious roots may grow at the nodes; and rooting stems may branch and root repeatedly, producing loose spreading mats. The small, trumpet-shaped, axillary flowers are produced in pairs, and each flower pair arises from one common calyx which is covered with fine hairs. Each flower has four white petals, one pistil, and four stamens. Partridge Berry is a distylous taxa. The plants have either flowers with long pistils and short stamens (long-styled flowers, called the pin), or have short pistils and long stamens (short-styled flowers, called the thrum). The ovaries of the twin flowers fuse, so that there are two flowers for each berry. The two bright red spots on each berry are vestiges of this process. The fruit is a drupe containing up to eight seeds. The fruits are never abundant.

It is found growing in dry or moist woods, along stream banks and on sandy slopes. The fruit ripens between July and October, and may persist through the winter.

Primary Flower Color: White
Secondary Flower Color: White
Edible Notes: The ripe red berries are starchy and edible but do not have much flavor.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.