Commonly (and aptly) named twinflower, this is one of my favourite plants. For me, it provokes memories of when I started to learn about botany and plant names, as it was one of my early “discoveries” in the woods near my home.
As I mentioned in a previous entry, the epithet borealis refers to “of the north”, and fittingly, this is a plant of the boreal forests of the northern hemisphere. The genus name, Linnaea, refers to the scientist Carolus Linnaeus, the “Father of Modern Taxonomy”.
Twinflower is a small shrublet, reaching perhaps 15cm (6in.) in height. The stems creep along the ground of coniferous forests, creating small mats of evergreen leaves awash in pink when in flower. I've only noticed it in soils with seeping near-surface water, but it apparently can also grow in sites that are quite dry.
A couple words I'd use to describe this plant are dainty and subtle. Tomorrow's photograph will feature a plant in the same family that is anything but dainty or subtle.
Update (June 15, 2005 12:02 AM PST): While reviewing the relationships between the various members of the honeysuckle family (to which I thought Linnaea still belonged), I see that Linnaea is now a member of a family named after it: the Linnaeaceae. So, the picture for June 15 still features a relative, but a more distant one perhaps than originally suggested.