Mitella, diminutive of mitra, a cap, alluding to the form of the young pod.
Perennial. A low, slender plant, with round, heart-shaped leaves, found in rich woods. New England to North Carolina, west to Minnesota and Missouri. Abundant in Ohio. April, May.
Horizontal, with runners.
Six to twelve inches high, bearing two opposite leaves.
Basal leaves heart-shaped, acute or acuminate, three to five-lobed, dentate, rough, usually with scattered hairs on both sides; stem-leaves very similar but smaller.
Small, white, in a slender raceme four to eight inches long.
Bell-like, growing to the base of ovary, five-lobed.
Of five delicate white petals, deeply cut.
Ten; filaments short.
One; ovary one-celled; styles two.
Capsule flattish, one-celled, two-valved at the apex, many-seeded.
Pollinated by bees.
"At Pentecost which brings The Spring, clothed like a bride, When nestling buds unfold their wings, And Bishop's Caps have golden rings - Musing upon many things, I sought the woodlands wide."
Under a glass the starry blossoms of the Mitella become objects of wonderful beauty; in fact they suggest the delicate crystals of snow. They appear early, but as the flowers are borne in a long raceme the period of bloom extends over nearly a month. Gray gives the Mitella to May, but in northern Ohio it is very sure to appear in April. The name Bishop's-Cap refers to the shape of the pods and is simply a translation of the Latin name. Mitella nuda is rare in northern Ohio; its flowers are greenish and the stem leafless; the basal leaves heart-shaped with margins crenate rather than serrate.
Mitella. Mitella diphylla