Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens)
Partridgeberry is a trailing, evergreen herb which grows in dry to moist woods in the Adirondack Mountains. The tiny white flowers are fragrant and usually grow in terminal pairs, up to 1/2 inches long, with four petal-like lobes. The delicate, fuzzy flowers are followed by bright red berries. The evergreen leaves are rather glossy, with prominent whitish green veins.
The common name -- Partridgeberry -- is apparently a reference to the belief that the berries are relished by partridges. Although the fruits are reportedly eaten by Ruffed Grouse and Quail, there is no evidence that the plant is of great importance to wildlife. Partridgeberry is also known as Twinberry, Deer Berry, Checkerberry, Squaw Berry, and Running Box. Partridgeberry grows throughout the northeast, from Newfoundland to Florida, west to Texas and Minnesota.
The berries reportedly are edible, but are said to be nearly tasteless.
Tea made from Partridgeberry leaves was used by several North
American Indian tribes as an aid in childbirth. The plant was
also used to treat medical ailments, such as insomnia, fever,
rheumatic pain, back pain, and convulsions.
Partridgeberry can be seen on the Boreal Life Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC. The plant usually starts blooming in mid- to late June at the VIC.
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