Jeffersonia diphylla - (L.) Pers.
Twinleaf
Other Common Names: twinleaf
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Jeffersonia diphylla (L.) Pers. (TSN 18844)
French Common Names: jeffersonie deux feuilles
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.160325
Element Code: PDBER05010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Barberry Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ranunculales Berberidaceae Jeffersonia
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Jeffersonia diphylla
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13Jul2015
Global Status Last Changed: 28Feb1984
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: This species is has a relatively broad range in eastern North America and is locally very abundant in central portions of its range. This species apparently tolerates low levels of habitat disturbance (Homoya pers. comm.).
Nation: United States
National Status: N5
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4 (14Oct2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S2), District of Columbia (SNR), Georgia (S1), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S1), Kentucky (S5), Maryland (S5), Michigan (S3), Minnesota (S3), New Jersey (S1), New York (S2), North Carolina (S1), Ohio (SNR), Pennsylvania (SNR), Tennessee (SNR), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (S3)
Canada Ontario (S4)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Eastern United States and southern Canada, from central and western New York (Young pers. comm.), Ontario (Kartesz 1999), Pennsylvania (Kunsman pers. comm.), and southern lower Michigan (Penskar pers. comm.) west to the northeast corner of Iowa (Pearson pers. comm.), Minnesota (USDA-NRCS 1999); south to northern Alabama (Schotz pers. comm.). In the east, confined to the ridge and valley province of the mid-Atlantic states (Frye pers. comm.).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Estimated that several hundred populations are extant rangewide. Alabama: >10; Iowa: 6; Indiana: hundreds or thousands; Maryland: 2-3+; Michigan: 25; North Carolina: 1; New York: 13; Tennessee: 34+ (Brumback and Mehrhoff 1996, APSU 1999).

Since this is such a common species throughout much of its range, these numbers can only be estimates. Additional information on species distribution and the number of populations can be gleaned from county occurrence dot maps (USDA-NRCS 1999). The largest populations and most regular occurrence in suitable habitat is toward the centroid of the distribution of this species, such as in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky (Schotz pers. comm., Homoya pers. comm.).

Population Size Comments: Jeffersonia is locally abundant, sometimes even the dominant herb species (Schotz pers. comm.). There are dozens to hundreds or thousands of stems per population (Young pers. comm., Kunsman pers. comm., Schotz pers. comm., Amoroso pers. comm., Penskar pers. comm.). The species is clonal.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: No apecific evidence has been found to suggest that this species is currently being sought for the medicinal plant trade. It may experience very low-level collection as an ornamental.

A person knowledgable about the herbal medicinal trade has never seen the plant in trade, but speculates that it probably receives some local use (M. McGuffin pers. comm.).

As with all native forest herbs, habitat conversion and urban/rural development are significant direct threats (Young pers. comm., Penskar pers. comm., Homoya pers. comm., Pittman pers. comm., Kunsman pers. comm., Pearson pers. comm., Frye pers. comm., Schotz pers. comm.). Equally significant threats include habitat fragmentation and displacement by exotic species (Homoya pers. comm., Penskar pers. comm., Frye pers. comm., Enser pers. comm.). Locally, limestone quarrying is one of the development pressures on this species given its affinity for limestone substrate (Kunsman pers. comm.). This species may be relatively protected in portions of its range by its occurrence in steep, less-developable sites (Homoya pers. comm.). However, the Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project (2002) reports that this species occurs in highly productive sites for timber, putting at risk from forest management practices.

Short-term Trend Comments: May be decreasing in eastern Pennsylvania due to intensive limestone quarrying there (Kunsman pers. comm.). May be declining somewhat in Alabama due to logging and residential/commercial development (Schotz pers. comm.). May be stable in portions of its range due to its local abundance (Young pers. comm., Penskar pers. comm.). Monitoring would be necessary in order to determine whether species is stable or declining; there is very little real data to determine population trends at present (Young pers. comm., Penskar pers. comm.).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: The species apparently tolerates low levels of habitat disturbance (Homoya pers. comm.).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Eastern United States and southern Canada, from central and western New York (Young pers. comm.), Ontario (Kartesz 1999), Pennsylvania (Kunsman pers. comm.), and southern lower Michigan (Penskar pers. comm.) west to the northeast corner of Iowa (Pearson pers. comm.), Minnesota (USDA-NRCS 1999); south to northern Alabama (Schotz pers. comm.). In the east, confined to the ridge and valley province of the mid-Atlantic states (Frye pers. comm.).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, DC, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MN, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WI, WV
Canada ON

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Jackson (01071), Madison (01089)
GA Dade (13083), Walker (13295)
IA Allamakee (19005)*, Clayton (19043), Delaware (19055), Dubuque (19061), Fayette (19065)
MI Berrien (26021), Clinton (26037), Genesee (26049), Ionia (26067), Isabella (26073)*, Kent (26081), Lapeer (26087)*, Lenawee (26091), Oakland (26125), Ottawa (26139), Saginaw (26145)*, Shiawassee (26155)*, St. Clair (26147)*, Washtenaw (26161), Wayne (26163)*
MN Fillmore (27045), Goodhue (27049), Houston (27055), Olmsted (27109), Wabasha (27157), Winona (27169)
NC Jackson (37099), Madison (37115)
NJ Hunterdon (34019), Mercer (34021), Ocean (34029)*
NY Allegany (36003), Cattaraugus (36009)*, Cayuga (36011), Erie (36029), Genesee (36037), Jefferson (36045)*, Lewis (36049)*, Livingston (36051), Monroe (36055), Onondaga (36067), Ontario (36069), Orleans (36073)*, Seneca (36099), Steuben (36101)*, Wayne (36117)*, Westchester (36119)*, Yates (36123)
WI Brown (55009), Dane (55025), Grant (55043), Iowa (55049), Kenosha (55059), Kewaunee (55061), Lafayette (55065), Manitowoc (55071), Milwaukee (55079), Monroe (55081), Ozaukee (55089), Pierce (55093), Racine (55101)*, Richland (55103)*, Sauk (55111), Waukesha (55133)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Lower Hudson (02030101)+*, Bronx (02030102)+*, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+*, Tioga (02050104)+*, Chemung (02050105)+*
03 Upper Coosa (03150105)+
04 Manitowoc-Sheboygan (04030101)+, Pike-Root (04040002)+, Milwaukee (04040003)+, St. Joseph (04050001)+, Black-Macatawa (04050002)+*, Upper Grand (04050004)+, Maple (04050005)+, Lower Grand (04050006)+, Birch-Willow (04080104)+*, Pine (04080202)+*, Shiawassee (04080203)+*, Flint (04080204)+, St. Clair (04090001)+*, Detroit (04090004)+, Huron (04090005)+, Ottawa-Stony (04100001)+*, Raisin (04100002)+, Tiffin (04100006)+, Niagara (04120104)+, Oak Orchard-Twelvemile (04130001)+*, Upper Genesee (04130002)+, Lower Genesee (04130003)+, Irondequoit-Ninemile (04140101)+, Salmon-Sandy (04140102)+*, Seneca (04140201)+, Black (04150101)+*, Chaumont-Perch (04150102)+*
05 Upper Allegheny (05010001)+*
06 Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+, Guntersville Lake (06030001)+, Wheeler Lake (06030002)+, Upper Elk (06030003)+*
07 Rush-Vermillion (07040001)+*, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+, Zumbro (07040004)+, Root (07040008)+, Lower Chippewa (07050005)+, Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+, Turkey (07060004)+, Lower Wisconsin (07070005)+, Pecatonica (07090003)+, Upper Fox (07120006)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: An herbaceous perennial which blooms in spring. Scape 10 to 20 cm at anthesis, petioles at first shorter than the scapes, later elongating to 20-50 cm. Leaf blades immature at anthesis, eventually 8-15 cm. Flowers white, 1-3 cm wide (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Identification is possible by the flower or fruit.
General Description: Twinleaf is an early spring wildflower that flowers before the forest trees have leafed-out. When it flowers, the stems are about 8 inches high with small two-lobed leaves that look like butterfly wings. Later in the season the expanded leaves grow taller, up to 20 inches, and obscure the stems. The showy white flowers are solitary at the top of each stem, have eight separate petals and are about 1/2" to 1 inch wide with yellow stamens in the middle. An individual plant may hold its flower for a few days. The fruit is walnut-shaped, smooth and shiny green, and often sticks out above the leaves. When the fruit is mature it splits around the top and opens like a lid, releasing the seeds.
Habitat Comments: This species is found in rich, mesic mixed hardwood forests with a clear affinity for limestone (Kunsman pers. comm., Young pers. comm., Homoya pers. comm.), or rarely in association with glacial till or moraine features toward the north end of its distribution (Penskar pers. comm., Homoya pers. comm.). It is typically encountered near streams, in floodplains or on steep, moist, rocky slopes, where it is locally abundant (Young pers. comm., Pearson pers. comm., Kunsman pers. comm., Penskar pers. comm., Pittillo pers. comm.). Associate species include: Fagus, Celtis, Quercus muehlenbergii, Acer saccharum, Ulmus rubra, Hybanthus concolor, Delphinium tricorne, Cercis canadensis, Ulmus spp., Hydrastis canadensis, and Sanguinaria canadensis (Schotz pers. comm., Kunsman pers. comm., Penskar pers. comm.).
Economic Attributes
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Economic Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Populations of this species are often dense and extensive along streams with smaller clusters of plants irregularly scattered throughout a habitat patch (Young pers. comm., Schotz pers. comm.). In parts of the range of this species, habitat tends to be fragmented by agricultural clearings (Pearson pers. comm.). It is not routinely found, even when habitat conditions are apparently supportive (Homoya pers. comm.).
Date: 03Jan2000
Author: Boetsch, J.R.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Jan2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: John R. Boetsch (1/00); rev. Eric Nielsen (1/00)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • APSU Center for Field Biology and University of Tennessee Herbarium. 1999. October 6-last update. Atlas of Tennessee Vascular Plants. Online. Available: http://www.bio.utk.edu/botany/herbarium/vascular/atlas.html. Accessed 2000-Jan.

  • Baskin, J. M., and C. C. Baskin. 1989. Seed germination ecophysiology of Jeffersonia diphylla, a perennial herb of mesic deciduous forests. American Journal of Botany 76(7):1073-1080.

  • Brumback, W.E., and L.J. Mehrhoff. 1996. Flora Conservanda: New England. The New England Plant Conservation Program list of plants in need of conservation. Rhodora 98 (895): 235-361.

  • Deam, C. C. 1940. Flora of Indiana. Division of Forestry, Dept. of Conservation, Indianapolis, Indiana. 1236 pp.

  • Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 3. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiii + 590 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Heithaus, E. R. 1981. Seed predation by rodents on three ant-dispersed plants. Ecology 62(1):136-145.

  • Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

  • House, Homer D. 1924. Annotated list of the ferns and flowering plants of New York State. New York State Museum Bulletin 254:1-758.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1996. Species distribution data at state and province level for vascular plant taxa of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (accepted records), from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, December, 1996.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2005. Field guide to the native plant communities of Minnesota: the eastern broadleaf forest province. Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota County Biological Survey, and Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, Minnesota. 394 pp.

  • Mitchell, Richard S. and Gordon C. Tucker. 1997. Revised Checklist of New York State Plants. Contributions to a Flora of New York State. Checklist IV. Bulletin No. 490. New York State Museum. Albany, NY. 400 pp.

  • Nekola, J. C. 1990. Rare Iowa plant notes from the R. V. Drexler Herbarium. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Sciences 97(1):55-73.

  • New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

  • Ostlie, W. R. 1990. Completion of the algific slope/maderate cliff landsnail survey in Minnesota. Final report submitted to the Division of Ecological Services, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul.. Unpaged.

  • Ostlie, Wayne R. 1990. Completion of the Algific Slope/Maderate Cliff Landsnail Survey in Minnesota. Funded by the MN DNR, Section of Wildlife, Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program and The Nature Conservancy. Results in unpublished report.

  • Rhoads, Ann F. and Timothy A. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania, an Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Rockwood, L. L., and M. B. Lobstein. 1994. The effects of experimental defoliation on reproduction in four species of herbaceous perennials from northern Virginia. Castanea 59(1):41-50.

  • Smith, B. H., M. L. Ronsheim, and K. R. Swartz. 1986. Reproductive ecology of Jeffersonia diphylla (Berberidaceae). American Journal of Botany 73(10):1416-1426.

  • Soper, J.H. 1962. Some genera of restricted range in the Carolinian flora of Canada. Transactions of the Royal Canadian Institute 34(1):3-56.

  • Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project. 2002. A partnership between the U.S. Forest Service-Region 8, Natural Heritage Programs in the Southeast, NatureServe, and independent scientists to develop and review data on 1300+ regionally and locally rare species in the Southern Appalachian and Alabama region. Database (Access 97) provided to the U.S. Forest Service by NatureServe, Durham, North Carolina.

  • Swink, F., and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region. Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 1999. November 3-last update. The PLANTS database. Online. Available: http://plants.usda.gov/plants. Accessed 2000-Jan.

  • Voss, E.G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicotyledons. Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1212 pp.

  • Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://wwws.nyflora.org/, Albany, New York

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