(Jeffersonia diphylla) Barberry family
FlowersWhite, t in. broad, solitary, on a naked scape about 7 in. high in flower, more than twice as tall in fruit. Calyx of 4 petallike sepals falling early ; 8 longer, flat, oblong petals ; 8 stamens ; 1 pistil. Leaves : From the root, long-petioled, rounded, palmately veined, cleft into 2 divisions. Fruit: A leathery, many-seeded capsule, slit horizontally.
Preferred HabitatRich shady woods.
DistributionNew York to Virginia, west to Ontario and Tennessee.
Like many little darkies in the United States, this low plant was named for Thomas Jefferson. One suspects from a glance at its solitary white flower and deeply divided leaves that it is not far removed from the May apple, which is characterized by even greater Jeffersonian simplicity of habit, although separated into another genus.