This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", 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..
Creeping herbs, with opposite petioled, entire or undulate, evergreen leaves, and white axillary or terminal peduncled geminate dimorphous flowers, their ovaries united. Calyx-tube ovoid, the limb 3-6-lobed (usually 4-lobed). Corolla funnelform, usually 4-lobed, the lobes recurved, bearded on the inner side. Stamens as many as the lobes of the corolla and inserted on its throat; filaments short and style exserted, or filaments exserted and style short. Ovary 4-celled; stigmas 4, short, filiform; ovules 1 in each cavity, erect, anatropous. Fruit composed of 2 united drupes usually containing 8 roundish nutlets. Seed erect; cotyledons short, obtuse; embryo minute. [Named after Dr. John Mitchell, botanist and correspondent of Linnaeus in Virginia.]
Two species, the following typical one North American, the other Japanese.
Mitchella repens L. Sp. Pl. 11 l. 1753.
Stems slender, trailing, rooting at the nodes, 6'-12' long, branching, glabrous, or very slightly pubescent. Leaves ovate-orbicular, petioled, obtuse at the apex, rounded or somewhat cordate at the base, 3"-10" long, pinnately veined, dark green, shining; peduncles shorter than the leaves, bearing 2 sessile white flowers at the summit; corolla 5"-6" long; drupes red (rarely white), broader than high, 2'-4" in diameter, persistent through the winter, edible.
In woods, Nova Scotia to Florida, west to western Ontario, Minnesota, Arkansas and Texas. April-June, sometimes flowering a second time in the autumn. Hive- or squaw-vine. Checker-berry. Deer-berry. Fox-or box-berry. Partridge-vine. Winter-clover. Chicken-, cow-, pigeon-, snake- or tea-berry. Two-eyed-or one-berry. Squaw-plum. Leaves often whitish-veined; flower-buds pink. Ascends to 5000 ft. in Virginia.