Bishop’s Cap – Mitella diphylla

(c) 2011 Patty Hankins

“At Pentecost which brings The Spring, clothed like a bride, When nestling buds unfold their wings,
And Bishop’s Caps have golden rings – Musing upon many things, I sought the woodlands wide.”

- “Voices of the Night”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


(c) 201 1 Patty Hankins

Bishop’s Caps (mitella diphylla) are beautiful snow-flake shaped wildflower that I’ve photographed several times in Tennessee. A member of the Saxifrage family, this delicate flower is also known as miterwort – both common names derive from the flower’s resemblance to the hats worn by bishops. The Latin name – mitella diphylla – refers to both a cap (mitella) and the plant’s two leaves (diphylla).


(c) 2010 Patty Hankins

Native to most of the Eastern United States and Canada, Bishop’s Cap is an  spring blooming wildflower. It prefers to grow in rich moist woods and along stream banks. They grow up to 16″ tall with several small ( 1/8 inch across) flowers on each stalk. A pair of heart shaped, three-lobed leaves grows halfway up the stalk.

(c) 2010 Patty Hankins

Native Americans found many uses for Bishop’s Cap. The Iroquois used a decoction of the  whole plants taken to vomit and as a wash counteract bad luck and an infusion of the plant as drops for sore eyes. The Menominee used the plant in sacred ceremonies.

(c) 2010 Patty Hankins

All of these photos of Bishop’s Cap were taken in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

More information about Mitella diphylla is available online at

Connecticut Wildflowers

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Native American Ethnobotany

NC State University Wildflowers

Our Early Wild Flowers by Harriet Keeler

USDA Plant Profile

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One Response to “Bishop’s Cap – Mitella diphylla”

  1. Tweets that mention Bishop’s Cap – Mitella diphylla « Beautiful Flower Pictures Blog: Floral Photography by Patty Hankins -- Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PattyHankins, Cynthia White. Cynthia White said: RT @PattyHankins: New blog Post: Bishop's Cap – Mitella diphylla #wildflowers #nativeplants [...]

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