Partridge Berry – Mitchella repens

Partridgeberry
Partridgeberry

This ground hugging vining plant of the Madder (Rubiaceae) family is native to the eastern woodlands of North America. This plant carries many common names like Twinberry, Two Eyed Berry, and Twinflower that all refer to the fact that two flowers grow together, side by side, their ovaries fusing, and producing just one berry between them!

 

The berries are on the plant sometimes all through the winter, and are food for many ground dwelling birds…like partridges and quail. The leaves are sometimes eaten in the winter by white tailed deer. Humans can eat the berries, but usually find them much too bland to be appetizing. Yet in Newfoundland the berries are harvested and sold as jam!

 

Gu qua was used by the old Cherokee healers to treat complaints of the bowel, including diarrhea. But its strongest use was for female issues…the plant would be rubbed on the breast prior to breastfeeding, to relieve sore breasts, and to relieve abdominal pain from menstruation. Gu qua (deer plant) is a uterine stimulant and astringent used in a formulae that included raspberry leaves.

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