Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Twinflower
Linnaea borealis

Family: Caprifoliaceae (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info) (cap-ree-foh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Linnaea (LIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: borealis (bor-ee-AL-is) (Info)

12 members have or want this plant for trade.


under 6 in. (15 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 19 photos.
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4 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Dec 31, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A modest evergreen plant, but lovely on close inspection. The flowers give off a honeysuckle fragrance in the evening.

It needs partial to full shade and an acid soil, pH 5-6, with organic matter. Happiest in the shade of conifers.

Hardy in Z2, it is heat intolerant, and it hates hot summers with nights above 70F. In eastern N. America, this isn't likely to succeed south of Z6.

Slow to establish. Best propagated by division or layering. Seed germination is impracticably low, and flowering takes over 12 years from seed.

This species is of conservation concern in many places close to the southern limit of its range. In 6 states it is believed to have been extirpated.

Positive Erutuon On Jul 4, 2011, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I bought twinflower this spring from Gardens of Rice Creek, a small specimen of a clone that's supposed to do well this far south. It isn't blooming yet; hopefully next year!

Neutral Where_is_it On Oct 15, 2010, Where_is_it from Columbia, MD wrote:

Just bought this plant from Munchkin Nursery. Endangered/Extirpated in my state. :(

Positive PlantGirl1982 On Apr 23, 2009, PlantGirl1982 from Cedar Rapids, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Please, someone tell me where I can buy this!!!!!!!

Positive altagardener On Nov 2, 2008, altagardener from Calgary, AB (Zone 3b) wrote:

This species has a circumpolar distribution. In North America, it occurs from Alaska, the Yukon, Mackenzie District through to Hudson's Bay, northern Quebec, Newfoundland, and south to California, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Indiana, and West Virginia (ref. Flora of Alberta, Moss & Packer). It is often an abundant understory plant in its preferred habitats (boreal to mixed forest).

Neutral purpleice On Apr 6, 2002, purpleice from Bridgman, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:

This plant was named in tribute to Carl Linnaeus, born in Sweden, who is credited for giving us the scientific names of plants. There is a nice scent to the tiny twin flowers which bloom in summer. This plant is an endangerd spiecies and seldom seen. It will spread, if your lucky, but is non-invasive. It is the national flower of Switerland and much revered in Sweden and Scotland.
The Twinflower has 4 stamens, 2 of which are longer than the others. Leaves are oval or round and are about a half inch long.It has tiny dry fruits that are sticky because of hooked bristles that are readily attached to animals and birds.
It is available from very few sources and alot of those sources are from overseas. Research on this plant was difficult as most references were from, or in, a foriegn language.
The plant is so named because it bears identical flowers, twins, as it were, and sometimes the twin flowers have twin flowers, very rare, but it happens. I find this plant so fascinating.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anchorage, Alaska
Saint Helen, Michigan

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