This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Erect perennial herbs, with long-petioled ovate or orbicular basal leaves, naked or 2-leaved scapes, and small white or greenish flowers in elongated spiciform racemes. Calyx-tube campanulate or hemispheric, adnate to the base of the ovary, its limb 5-lobed. Petals 5, 3-cleft or pinnatifid. Stamens 10 (sometimes 5); filaments short. Ovary globose, 1-celled; styles 2, short; ovules 00. Capsule 1-celled, 2-valved at the apex, many-seeded. Seeds smooth, shining. [Diminutive of mitra, a cap, from the form of the young pod.]
About 4 species, natives of North America and eastern Asia. Type species: Mitella diphylla L.
Basal leaves ovate; scape with 2 opposite leaves.
Basal leaves reniform; scape naked or 1-leaved near the base.
Mitella diphylla L. Sp. Pl. 406. 1753.
Scape 10'-18' high, pubescent, bearing a pair of opposite nearly or quite sessile leaves near its middle. Basal leaves broadly ovate, cordate at the base, acute or acuminate at the apex, 3-5-lobed, dentate, scabrous and with scattered hairs on both sides, 1'-2' long; leaves of the scape similar, usually smaller; spiciform raceme erect, 3'-8' long, the flowers distant; calyx-lobes and petals white; capsule flattish, broad, dehiscent above, the valves spreading.
In rich woods, Quebec to Minnesota, North Carolina and Missouri. Ascends to 2600 ft. in Virginia. A third leaf is rarely borne on the scape at the base of the inflorescence. Currant-leaf. False sanicle. Fringe- or fairy-cup. April-May.
Mitella oppositifòlia Rydb., native in central New York, and cultivated at South Hadley, Massachusetts, differs from M. diphylla in the long-petioled stem-leaves, the lanceolate calyx-lobes and the filiform divisions of the petals.
Mitella nuda L. Sp. Pl. 408. 1753.
Stem usually stoloniferous, scape erect, very-slender, pubescent, 3'-7' high. Basal leaves reni-form-orbicular, obtuse, cordate at the base, crenate or doubly crenate, 1'-1 1/2'wide, pubescent with scattered hairs on both sides; stem-leaves usually none; flowers pedicelled, greenish, about 2" broad; capsule similar to that of the preceding species.
In cold woods and peat-bogs, Newfoundland and Labrador to the Pacific Coast, south to New England, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Ascends to 3000 ft. in the Adirondacks. Also in northeastern Asia. April-June, or blooming again in the autumn.
Mitella intermèdia Bruhin, from the vicinity of Cen-terville, Wisconsin, differs from M. nuda in the acute-lobed leaves and the subulate divisions of the petals.