Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Twinleaf, Helmet Pod, Ground Squirrel Pea
Jeffersonia diphylla

Family: Berberidaceae (bear-ber-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Jeffersonia (Jefferson-ee-a) (Info)
Species: diphylla (dy-FIL-uh) (Info)

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

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:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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4 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Nov 12, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a beautiful native spring ephemeral. The flowers are lovely, but as fleeting as those of bloodroot. The leaves are dark purple when emerging, but then turn green after a few days, like those of Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica.

It does not have rhizomes or stolons, does not spread except by seed, and does not lend itself to propagation by division. The foliage goes dormant in late spring, so it can hardy serve as a groundcover.

In the wild and in the garden, the seeds are spread by ants. I see self-sown seedlings near the original plants.

Neutral NHLady On Apr 30, 2008, NHLady from Exeter, NH (Zone 5a) wrote:

I recently saw this plant at Monticello. Its common name, Twinleaf, is the name of the newsletter produced by the horticulture folks at Monticello. I purchased a small plant at Garden in the Woods (N.E. Wildflower Society) in MA last weekend. It's a lovely wildflower to plant with trillium and epimedium, as someone else commented above. I'll patiently wait for it to flower in the years ahead.

Positive Malus2006 On Nov 20, 2006, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Zone 4a hardy, slow to flower I planted some last year and two years ago they came up fine but hadn't flower yet. Interesting foliage and make a nice company to Trilliums and Bloodroots.
Update 2008: It bloomed last year and are blooming again this year with small bloodroot - like flowers

Neutral raisedbedbob On Feb 15, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

According to the Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants, American Indians used a root tea for cramps, spasms, nervous excitability, diarrhea, kidney stones, dropsy, urinary infections, gargle for sore throats. CAUTION: PROBABLY TOXIC.

Positive jklewis On May 17, 2005, jklewis from Cambridge, MA wrote:

A lovely but very fleeting white spring flower. Has seeded itself in my back yard in the shade. Attractive split leafed foliage about 10"-12" tall. It is planted behind a bed of epimedium, which it complements.

Positive lupinelover On May 5, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Stoloniferous groundcover. Native to US woodlands, protected in some states. Seeds are collected by ants as they ripen, making it unlikely that a gardener will be able to collect ripe ones. Collected seeds sprout from ant nests in spring.

Grown for foliage; resembles bloodroot, but leaves are not quite as big. Sap leaks from cut rhizomes, so disturb only if necessary.

Flowers are pretty, but very fleeting.


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

Haubstadt, Indiana
Bardstown, Kentucky
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Dracut, Massachusetts
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Louis, Missouri
Exeter, New Hampshire
Honeoye Falls, New York
Sag Harbor, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Grove City, Ohio
Hubbard, Oregon
Cresco, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Midlothian, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Seattle, Washington
Madison, Wisconsin

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