Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Twinflower Linnaea borealis


enlarge +

credit: Walter Siegmund/CCSA

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: American Twinflower

Family: Caprifoliaceae, Honeysuckle view all from this family

Description A low, delicate, matted evergreen plant with trailing stems having short, upright branches, each terminated by 2 pinkish-white, nodding bell-shaped flowers.
Habit: native perennial herb or subshrub; stems hairy, creeping or trailing; stoloniferous.
Height: prostrate or dwarf, 3-6 in in (75-150 mm).
Leaf: opposite, evergreen, glossy, widely oval, shallowly toothed, held low on flower stalk; 0.25-1 in (6-25 mm) long, 0.5 (12 mm) wide.
Flower: dainty, fragrant, bell-shaped, pale pink, 5-parted, nodding; held terminally, in pairs, on long stalks.
Fruit: small, dry, one-seeded capsule.

Flower June to September.

Flower June - September

Habitat Cool climates; conifer forests, deciduous forests, bogs, grasslands, alpine meadows to 10,000 ft (3000 m); also cultivated as an ornamental.

Range Northern and western North America, from Alaska south to California, east to New Mexico, northeast to North Dakota, east to Maryland, north to Maine and Labrador; also in Tennessee; circumboreal.

Discussion Also known as American twinflower, northern twinflower, western twinflower. Three subspecies are recognized. Endangered, threatened or possibly extinct in Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. A beautiful trailing plant of the North, this is the American variety of the European plant. It was named for Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), the father of modern botany, who was so fond of the flower he had his portrait painted with it. This charming plant makes a good ground cover in the woodland garden.

Exposure Preference Shade.

Native Distribution Canada & Alaska, s. in the n. 1/3 of the U.S. & through the western mts. (Pacific plants are usually considered ssp. longiflora; others are ssp. americana)

Site Preference Cool, moist woods; peat knolls

Soil Preference Cool, moist, acidic, humus-rich soils. pH 4-5.