Partridge Berry Flowers (Mitchella repens)
Partridge Berry blooms in late June and early July at Distant Hill Gardens with a pair of white flowers with a single calyx. Each small, fragrant flower has four brilliant white petals that are pubescent and join into a funnel-shaped tube. The pair of flowers are considered 'dimorphous', which means they occur in two forms. In the first form the pistil is short and the stamens are long; in the second form the pistil is long and the stamens are short. This structure prevents each flower from fertilizing itself. Both flowers must be pollinated to obtain a single scarlet berry. Each berry is formed by the fusion of the two ovaries. As a result, each berry has two indentations on its surface remaining from each flower. Hence one of the plants other common names, Two-Eyed Berry or Twin Flower.
There are numerous other common names for this eastern North American native evergreen ground cover. Some of the names refer to the animals that use the plant as a food source (partridge berry, deer berry, running fox). The common names squaw berry and squaw vine refer to the plant's use by Native Americans as a tea given to pregnant women.