"Diphylla", two leaved - that is the bishop's-cap, a simple spring plant whose thin stem bears two leaves which almost clasp about half way up the stalk. It is a stalk set with snowflakes. No other flower, perhaps, is patterned so much like a snowflake, nor holds that resemblance consistently until the flowers are done and the tiny seed pods open to show a. pair of glistening black seeds.
Mitella diphylla L.
April - May Woods.
Bishop's-cap lacks one or two qualities of proper snowflakes. In number, the flower divisions are five instead of the crystalline six; it is not as fragile and fleeting as a snowflake, though a prematurely hot day in spring will send it quickly out of bloom.
The flower is just a cupped calyx from which extend five petals which are so deeply and finely cut that they are thready and snowflake-like without any exaggeration of simile. Perhaps no other Illinois flower has petals of so little substance.
Bishop's-cap is about six to eight inches tall. It grows in narrow, cool ravines where the soil is deep with old leaf-mold and perpetual moisture, and in oak woods with cool northern slopes. It blooms in late April and is a member of the varied Saxifrage family.