Twinflower Linnaea borealis - Foraging Wildflowers & Weeds in Newfoundland
Foraging Wildflowers & Weeds in Newfoundland
Twinflower (Linnaea borealis)
In this episode of foraging with colorful canary, we will look at the dainty and delicate twinflower
The fragrance of this flower when walking woodland paths is what first catches your attention. the soft powdery fragrance reminiscent of baby power sweeps through the air where twinflower grows.
Native to Newfoundlands boreal forests, Twinflower or Linnaea borealis is a member of the honeysuckle family. This creeping evergreen can be seen at the base of evergreen forests forming tangled mats of vines over mossy floors. The plant produces tiny pairs of fragrant pink, bell-like flowers in late spring or early summer. The flowers are pink to white, bell-like, and nodding they appear in pairs on short, Y-shaped stalks. The flower stalks are short, upright, and hairy. Twinflower leaves are round and slightly leathery. The leaves are opposite, meaning that that are two leaves per node along the stem. The leaves are small, about ½ inch with leaf margins shallowly scalloped toward the tip.
The plant forms an extensive vining mat and is useful as a fragrant and interesting ground cover on peat beds and in rock gardens. Plants form a dense carpet when growing in good conditions, rooting as they spread, but otherwise the cover is sparse. Plants should be spaced about 60cm apart each way. Twinflower is rather flexible in terms of both sunlight and moisture requirements. It can tolerate a wide spectrum of light intensity, growing in both unshaded and shaded sites. Twinflower can flourish in both dry and wet soils and can grown in almost any soil condition even the shallowest of soils.
Insects attracted to Twinflower include bees, wasps, a variety of flies and beetles. In addition, the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, a ground nester is said to build its nest in areas where Twinflowers grow.
While twinflower is listed as a food plant, there are few details on it's edible uses.
Twinflower has not been used extensively for medicine although some references state that it has been used to treat various ailments, the entire plant was said to be used as a tonic for pregnant women and for painful menstruation, a decoction of twigs was used for fever or cramps and a decoction of leaves was said to be used as a cold remedy. The mashed plant is used as a poultice on inflamed limbs and is also applied to the head to ease the pain of headaches
Twinflower has no known hazards
Flowers should be harvested when fragrant and in full bloom. Leaves & vines can be harvest any time of year.
Twinflower can be used to create tiny unique arrangements, crafts, pressed and dried flowers, the flowers can also be used to add a soft fragrance to cosmetics including powders and floral waters.
The next time you're walking through the forest, if a soft heavenly scent surrounds you, look down and you may be lucky enough to see the little nodding pink bells known as twinflower.