Elegant and demure, this is one of those classy woodland flowers that deserve a closer look.
Paris quadrifolia occurs locally in temperate and cool areas throughout Europe. Upright stems that bear four (or sometimes five) flat leaves in a whorl at their apex. At their center, a single curious flower is produced with eight narrow green sepals and petals and eight stamens, giving them a wispy, spidery appearance. The flowers are followed in summer by a large, black inedible berry. The fruit is foul tasting and poison, but all parts of the plant can be used in homeopathic medicine or herbal remedies.
Paris quadrifolia is often confused with trillium. While the two are related, because they are both part of the Melanthiaceae family, trillium has leaves and flowers grouped in threes, while Paris quadrifolia's leaves and the petals of its blooms are clustered in fours. The common name 'Herb Paris' was first used in 1544 by Italian botanist Pierandrea Matthioli. The woodland plant it prefers part-shade and not-to-wet soil. Perennial, zone 5-9.
Other Names: devil-in-a-bush, true lover's knot, Herba Paris, Solanum quadrifolium, Aconitum pardalianches, True Love, One Berry, Paris polyphylla