Jeffersonia diphylla
Image of Jeffersonia diphylla

Photo by Bradford S. Slaughter 

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Key Characteristics

Medium-sized forb of rich woods and floodplains; leaves with two identical lobes, joined in the middle (reminiscent of a butterfly); flowers white with the petals dropping soon after flowering; fruit a capsule on a long stalk.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S3
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Clair11904
Distribution map for Jeffersonia diphylla

Updated 7/21/2017. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Twinleaf is found in mesic forests with rich, loamy soils and in floodplain forests.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Beech, sugar maple, basswood, tulip poplar, white ash, bitternut hickory, wild leek, ginger, cut-leaved toothwort, dutchman's breeches, yellow trout lily, Virginia waterleaf, false rue anemone, woodland phlox, common trillium, ginseng, goldenseal, bloodroot, early meadow-rue, hepatica, and beaked violet.


Protect from excessive overstory removal, rutting of soil, and impacts to local hydrology. Maintain healthy intact, mature forests and minimize forest fragmentation due to development. When possible, leave large tracts of unharvested forests and allow natural processes to operate unhindered. If forest is being managed for timber, minimize fragmentation, leave long periods of recuperation between harvests (50-70 yrs.), preserve as much area as possible in a forested matrix, and maintain a range of canopy closure comparable to pre-harvest closure.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Mar 18, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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