A smooth, perennial, fibrous-rooted plant, 6 to 8 inches high when in flower, later becoming 10 to 18 inches high. Leaves and flowering stems arising from a scaly base. Leaves glaucous beneath, long petioled, cordate or reniform, 3 to 6 inches long, 2 to 4 inches wide when mature, parted longitudinally into two obliquely ovate, blunt, lobed or entire divisions; lobes rounded with sinuses sometimes three-fourths of an inch deep. At flowering time the leaves are but partially developed. Flowering stems without leaves and one-flowered. Flowers white, about 1 inch broad; the calyx with four (sometimes three or five) caducous, petallike divisions. Petals eight, flat, oblong, longer than the sepals. Stamens eight with slender filaments. Fruit a short-stalked capsule about 1 inch long, opening at maturity near the summit by a half-circumscissle cleft.
In moist woods, New York, Ontario and Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia and Tennessee. Flowering in April and May.
(Photograph by> G. A. Bailey)
Figure XVIII Twin-leaf (Jeffersonia diphylla (Linnaeus) Persoon)