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Diphylleia (Umbrella Leaf, Skeleton Flower)

More Information About Diphylleia

Diphylleia is a woodland plant that likes moist, rich, well drained soil. Similar to a mayapple, Diphylleia produces stems from an underground rhizome each of which are topped with two large, butterfly shaped leaves. Also like a mayapple, Diphylleia has a single north american native species (Diphylleia cymosa) in the Appalachian mountians and a handful of asian species in Japan and China (Diphylleia sinensis, Diphylleia grayi). Unlike the mayapple, Diphylleia flowers appear on a stalk above the leaf tops...a cluster of small white flowers that appear in summer. One unique trait of Diphylleia grayi is that the white flowers turn transparent when wetted by rain which is the source of the common name skeleton flower. After pollination, Diphylleia flowers develop into ornamental blue berries. Diphylleia species prefer cooler climates and in the southeastern US they are perhaps better suited to the mountains than to the plains or coast. This is a great plant for gardens in the pacific northwest and the northeast and England.