Linnaea borealis (Twinflower)
|Also known as:|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; cool northern forest|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||3 to 6 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A pair of nodding flowers at the top of a slender, hairy stem that is forked near its summit. Flowers are pink to purplish, 1/3 to ½ inch long flowers, the base of the flower a slender tube that flares into a funnel shape with 5 rounded lobes. The calyx holding the flower is 2 to 3 mm (to 1/8 inch) long, shorter than the floral tube, has 5 sharply pointed lobes and is covered in glandular hairs.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are nearly basal but opposite, evergreen, generally oval, 1/3 to 2/3 inch long, ¼ to nearly 2/3 inch wide, toothless or with several shallow teeth at the tip end, sparsely hairy on upper surface, nearly smooth underneath, tapering to a short stalk. Stems are fine, wiry, covered in a mix of glandular and non-glandular hairs, and creeping along the ground up to six feet, rooting down at the nodes forming large colonial mats.
Fruit is a small 1-seeded capsule wrapped in a pair of small bracts covered in glandular hairs.
Twinflower is a circumboreal species with 3 subspecies (or varieties, depending on the reference) in North America; ours in Minnesota is the most common, subsp. americana. Most of Minnesota's herbarium records are listed as var. longiflora, but the general consensus is that subspecies/var is restricted to western North America; differences between the two are not well-documented. Twinflower is reported to have been a favorite of Carolus Linnaeus, father of bi-nomial nomenclature, after whom it was named.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Savanna Portage State Park, Aitkin County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin and Lake counties.
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