Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Partridge Berry
Mitchella repens
Rubiaceae

Can be used as a ground cover plant in a shady position[3, 188]. Plants form a spreading carpet, rooting along the stems, and are best spaced about 30cm apart each way[208].

  • Medicinal Use

    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[254]. 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[254].

    The herb is astringent, diuretic, hypnotic and tonic[4, 21, 102, 165, 192, 213]. 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[213, 222, 238]. This tea should not be used during the first six months of labour, however, since it can induce a miscarriage[238]. The tea is also used to treat delayed, painful or irregular menses[222, 238].

    The tea was also used externally as a wash for hives, swellings, sore nipples, rheumatism etc[222]. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use[238].

    A tea made from the berries has a very definite sedating effect on the nervous system[192].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw[2, 105, 161]. Pleasant and slightly aromatic[183]. Dry and tasteless, with lots of seeds according to another report[4]. The fruit hangs on well on the bush[1]. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter[200].

    A tea is made from the leaves[207].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – it germinates better if given 3 months cold stratification and so it is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn[113]. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. Make sure that all the fruit pulp is removed from the seed because it contains germination inhibitors[113]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division of naturally layered stems in the spring[200]. Cuttings.
Requires a moist but well-drained lime-free soil and some shade[11]. Prefers a peaty soil[1, 200], succeeding in neutral to acid soils[200]. Plants are hardy to at least -20¡c[200]. A trailing plant, the stems forming new roots at the nodes[192]. The dried leaves have a scent of newly mown hay[245]. The flowers have a pleasant sweet fragrance[245]. Succeeds in the shade of trees[1, 11], growing well in a woodland and in the rock garden[1, 200]. Plants can be difficult to establish[188], though they can become invasive once they are well established[238].
N. America – Newfoundland to Florida, west to Texas and Minnesota.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.