Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Mitchella repens

Partridgeberry, Twinberry, Running box, Pigeon plum

Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry)
Cressler, Alan
A trailing, evergreen herb with white, fragrant, tubular flowers in pairs. Partridgeberry is a creeping, perennial herb, no taller than 2 in. high. All parts are dainty, including its pairs of small, rounded, evergreen leaves; tiny, trumpet-shaped, pinkish-white flowers; and scarlet berries.

A most attractive woodland creeper with highly ornamental foliage, it can be used as a groundcover under acid-loving shrubs and in terraria in the winter. The common name implies that the scarlet fruits are relished by partridges, and they are consumed by a variety of birds and mammals. Indian women drank a tea made from the leaves as an aid in childbirth.

Image Gallery:

15 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: 1 to 2 inches high
Leaf: Dark green
Flower: Flowers 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch
Fruit: Red, occasionally white 1/4 to 1/2 inch
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Blooms appear in pairs.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: N.S. to FL, w. to MN, s.e. MO & e. TX. Eastern North America, Zones 4 to 8
Native Habitat: Dry or moist woods; stream banks; sandy slopes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Humus-rich, acidic soil. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Acid-based
Conditions Comments: This is a good ground cover for shady, undisturbed locations. It is sensitive to disturbance and needs to be kept moist unless it is in soil rich enough and a location shady enough that it can retain adequate moisture. If it begins to wilt from drought stress, water within two days or it will start to die.


Use Ornamental: A low-growing, evergreen groundcover for rich, woodland soils in eastern North America
Use Wildlife: Fruit consumed by Ruffed Grouse, Bobwhite Quail, turkeys, skunks, and White-footed Mice
Use Medicinal: Indian women drank a tea made from the leaves as an aid in childbirth. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds

Last Update: 2015-07-22