Thomas Jefferson was a man who was deeply interested in new ideas, new lands, new plants. In his estate at Monticello he planted flowers and trees from far places and sent for specimens from the hinterlands of the then unexplored America. He rode through the Shenandoahs and was, perhaps, more conscious of the plant life growing there than were most men of his time. And so it was that a new little. American wild flower was named Jeffersonia in his honor. Few American presidents have been honored in this manner. There is the Washingtonia palm, and the little Jeffersonia. - perhaps these are all. This is a singularly fitting tribute, for both men were intensely interested in the plants of America.
Jeffersonia diphylla (L.) Pers.
Very likely neither saw the Jeffersonia, the twinleaf. because it grows from northern New York across the upper states to Wisconsin and Iowa, and southward a little way so that northern Illinois is included in the range. Now in mid-April there comes a group of oddly shaped leaves, much like a pair of kidneys suspended from the middle of the inner sides to a curving stem. Below the leaves is a white flower with eight oblong petals around a yellow center. Superficially it looks surprisingly like bloodroot. But bloodroot never had leaves like these, and the flower, though much like it, is smaller and has shorter, less ethereal and transient petals than the delicate bloodroot. The latter has yellow juice in the stems and red juice in the root, and these the twinleaf has not . . . twin-leaf, Thomas Jefferson's flower.