(Partridge Berry - Squawberry - Checker Berry)
Mitchella repens Linnaeus
Rubiaceae (Madder or Coffee) Family
Plant is a low, prostrate, hairy or smooth perennial. Preferred habitat is dry or moist woods. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
Leaves are opposite on the stem; no leaf stalk; egg-shaped; leathery; no teeth or lobes.
Flowers are at the end of the stem in the leaf axil; two per node; bisexual and symmetrical in shape; densely hairy. The two flowers have a fused calyx; corolla is funnel-shaped with four lobes. Color is white or occasionally pink; four stamens. Flowers occur in the summer.
Fruit is two fused berries that turn bright red at maturity.
These attractive woodland carpet plants have highly ornamental foliage, which are idea as a ground cover under acid loving shrubs (azalea). The common name implies that the fruits are eaten by birds but they do not appear to be of much importance to wildlife. Indian women drank a tea made from the leaves as an aid in childbirth.