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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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Stems prostrate, up to about 3 feet long.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsLight 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.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: 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
BibliographyBibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Linnaea borealis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Linnaea borealis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Linnaea borealis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-16
Research By: TWC Staff