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Twinleaf, Helmet Pod, Ground Squirrel Pea - Jeffersonia diphylla

Family: Berberidaceae - Barberry family Genus Common Name: Twinleaf Native Status: Native
Jeffersonia diphylla - Twinleaf, Helmet Pod, Ground Squirrel Pea. The only other species in the genus is J. dubia, an Asian plant. Jeffersonia diphylla is a species native to parts of the United States and Canada. It is endangered or threatened in four states - Iowa, New Jersey, New York, and Georgia. In Georgia it is found only in four sites in Walker County.

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Jeffersonia diphylla

Distribution of Jeffersonia diphylla in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 22 Feb 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Pigeon Mountain - East, Walker County GA Date: 2010-March-27Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Basal leaves are up to 6 inches tall and have a pair of kidney-shaped leaflets. The solitary flowers have 8 white petals, 8 pale yellow stamens surrounding a green pistil.
Jeffersonia diphylla

Site: Pigeon Mountain - East, Walker County GA Date: 2010-April-16Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The seedpod of Twinleaf is a capsule that roughly may look like a head with a helmet, perhaps being the origin of one of another common name for this plant - Helmet Pod. The seedpod will burst open, and the seeds will be dispersed by ants. The seedpod is a food for rodents, which is probably the source of the "Ground Squirrel Pea" common name also applied to this plant.
Jeffersonia diphylla

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2018
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer