Partridge berry is an evergreen groundcover. The leaves are shiny and dark green. The flowers are white, in pairs and face upward. The flowers are covered with hairs are have four petals. The flowers occur in two forms. In one form the pistil is short and the stamens are long. The second form the pistil is long and the stamens are short. These different forms of flowers make it impossible for the plant to be self-fertile. Bumble bees are the main pollinators. The plants provide nectar for the bees.
The flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer. In the fall the red berries are formed and persist through the winter. Animals such as grouse, turkey, mice, fox and chipmunks will eat the berries.
The plant has creeping stems and grows no higher than 2 to 4 inches tall. In the right setting partridge berry spreads quite quickly. It prefers rich, moist well drained soil. What I refer to as woodland soil. Shade or part shade is the best light setting for these plants.
When out hiking you frequently see Partridge Berry with wintergreen and trailing arbutus. Sometimes people wonder how to tell the difference between wintergreen and partridgeberry. One stark difference is that the midvein of partridge berry is whiteish and stands out. Wintergreen leaves appear all green. Then there is the wintegreen smell when the leaves are crushed.
Mitchella repens – Partridge Berry
-Beautiful red berries
-Shade to part shade
- Evergreen ground cover
-Height: 2 to 4
-Zone: 3 to 8