Another article from Bryant today. He writes:
I would like to thank Robert Klips (aka Orthotrichum @Flickr) for this beautiful photo of Mitella diphylla from the UBC Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. I was drawn to the unusual inflorescence of this perennial herb. Mitella diphylla is native to eastern North America, and can be found most often in wooded areas or rocky outcrops with rich and moist soil. A member of the Saxifragaceae, Mitella contains 20 recognized species, 9 of which are indigenous to North America.
The flowers of Mitella diphylla bloom in the late spring and are made up of five pinnatifid petals, which give the flower a snowflake-like appearance. The flowers are small (roughly ½ cm) and form a sparse raceme on an upright stalk, which ranges from 10-45(-51) cm tall. There are 10 yellow stamens and two green styles. The stalk is highly pubescent, which can be seen to the right of the flower in the photo above. Not far down the stalk from the raceme is a pair of leaves (hence diphylla) that are attached to the stalk by very short petioles. At the base of the stalk are the basal leaves, which have long and pubescent petioles. Mitella diphylla is a shade tolerant plant that prefers the spotty sunlight conditions under an open forest canopy. Photographs of Mitella diphylla are available from the Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium at the University of Wisconsin.
The species is mainly pollinated by both short-tongue and long-tongue bees as well as syrphid flies, which feed on the pollen. In early July, the seeds are formed in open green cup-like structures (see photos via Freckmann Herbarium link). The mature seeds can be dispersed by raindrops, which hit the cups and fling the seeds out of the cup! Also, plants can form clumps or colonies through vegetative propagation via spreading fibrous roots. Mitella diphylla makes a great ground cover for shade gardens due to its ability to naturalize and colonize.