Flowers - Twin-flower; Ground Vine
( Originally Published 1916 )
(Linnoea borealis) Honeysuckle family
Flowers-Delicate pink or white tinged with rose, bellshaped, about 1/2 in. long, fragrant, nodding in pairs on slender, curved pedicels from an erect peduncle, 2-bracted where they join. Calyx 5-toothed, sticky ; corolla 5-lobed, bellshaped, hairy within ; 4 stamens in pairs inserted near base of tube ; 1 pistil. Stem : Trailing, 6 in. to 2 ft. long ; the branches erect. Leaves : Opposite, rounded, petioled, evergreen.
Preferred Habitat—Deep, cool, mossy woods.
Distribution—Northern parts of America, Europe, and Asia. In the United States southward as far as the mountains of Maryland, and the Sierra Nevadas in California.
With the consent of modest Linnaeus himself, Dr. Gronovius selected this typical woodland blossom to transmit the great master's name to posterity
" Monument of the man of flowers."
But small and shy as it is, does Nature's garden contain a lovelier sight than scores of these deliciously fragrant pink bells swaying above a carpet of the little evergreen leaves in the dim aisle of some deep,.cool, lonely forest ? Trailing over prostrate logs and mossy rocks, racing with the partridge vine among the ferns and dwarf cornels, the plant sends up "twin-born heads " that seem more fair and sweet than the most showy pampered darlings of the millionaire's conservatory. Little wonder that Linaenus loved these little twin sisters, or that Emerson enshrined them in his verse.
Contrary to popular impression, this vine, that suggests the dim old forest and exhales the very breath of the spring woods, will consent to run about our rock gardens, although it seems almost a sacrilege to move it from natural surroundings so impressively beautiful. Unlike the arbutus, which remains ever a wildling, pining slowly to death on close contact with civilization, the twin-flower thrives in light, moist garden soil where the sun peeps for a little while only in the morning. By nodding its head the flower protects its precious contents from rain, the hairs inside exclude small pilferers ; but bees, attracted by the fragrance and color, are guided to the nectary by five dark lines and a patch of orange color near it.