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Linnaea borealis (Twinflower)
Reveal, James L.

Linnaea borealis

Linnaea borealis L.

Twinflower, American Twinflower

Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)


USDA Symbol: LIBO3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

This is a creeping ground cover with trailing hairy stems reaching 3 ft. in length. These groups of slender, woody stems bear glossy, bright, evergreen leaves arranged in pairs. The delicately fragrant flowers are pinkish-white, bell-shaped and in nodding pairs at the end of 4-6 in. stalks.

A beautiful trailing plant of the North, this is the American variety of the European plant. It was named for Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), the father of modern botany, who was so fond of the flower he had his portrait painted with it. This charming plant makes a good ground cover in the woodland garden.


From the Image Gallery

20 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Stems prostrate, up to about 3 feet long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , CT , IA , ID , IL , IN , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MT , ND , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SD , TN , UT , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Canada & AK, s. in the n. 1/3 of the U.S. & through the western mts. (Pacific plants are usually considered ssp. longiflora; others are ssp. americana)
Native Habitat: Cool, moist woods; peat knolls

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Cool, moist, acidic, humus-rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Requires good drainage but will not tolerate drought.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes


Description: Seeds, though hard to collect and slow to germinate, may be sown outside in late fall or the following spring without any cold treatment. An easier method of propagation is stem cuttings taken in late spring or by layering plant.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: A great groundcover in the woodland garden, give it room to spread.

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native shade plants around fountain in California
March 18, 2009
Hi, we just put a fountain in our front yard. It is in a mostly shady area. I need to know what plants would go best around the fountain and survive in the shade.
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Linnaea borealis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Linnaea borealis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Linnaea borealis


Record Modified: 2023-02-16
Research By: TWC Staff

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