General info about Fruit
Partridge Berry, is the best known plant in the genus Mitchella. It is a herbaceous woody shrub, occurring in North America and Japan, and belonging to the madder family (Rubiaceae).
This evergreen plant is a creeping, but not climbing, vine, 15-30 cm long. The evergeen dark-green leaves are opposite, ovate to cordate, with a pale yellow midrib. The petioles are short. Roots may grow at the internodes, forming loose mats. It is part of the undergrowh vegetation in many forests.
It has dimorphous, twin white tubular flowers (grown from one calyx) with four petals, covered with fine hairs. They grow axillary at the end of a branchlet. Each flower has one pistil and four stamens. While in one twin flower this pistil is short,in the other it is long. With a short pistil come long stamens, or vice versa. This dimorphy prevents self-fertilization by one flower.
How to choose a ripe and fresh Fruit
The scarlet berries are edible but tasteless.
Each berry contains eight seeds. The fruit ripens between July and October.
Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Tea.
Fruit - raw. Pleasant and slightly aromatic. Dry and tasteless, with lots of seeds according to another report. The fruit hangs on well on the bush. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter. A tea is made from the leaves.
Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit
Astringent; Diuretic; Hypnotic; Oxytoxic; Sedative; Tonic; Women’s complaints.
Partridge berry was commonly used by several native North American Indian tribes as a parturient to hasten childbirth. It was also occasionally used to treat a variety of other complaints including insomnia, rheumatic pain and fluid retention. It is still used in modern herbalism as an aid to childbirth and is also considered to have a tonic effect upon the uterus and the ovaries. The herb is astringent, diuretic, hypnotic and tonic. Frequent doses of a tea made from the fresh or dried leaves were used by N. American Indian women in the weeks preceding childbirth in order to promote easy delivery. This tea should not be used during the first six months of labour, however, since it can induce a miscarriage. The tea is also used to treat delayed, painful or irregular menses. The tea was also used externally as a wash for hives, swellings, sore nipples, rheumatism etc. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use. A tea made from the berries has a very definite sedating effect on the nervous system.
Can be used as a ground cover plant in a shady position. Plants form a spreading carpet, rooting along the stems, and are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.