What’s Green Now? Spotted Wintergreen

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Chimaphila maculata; Pyrolaceae

This evergreen subshrub is known by a variety of names, including pipsissewa (also used to refer to any flower in the genus Chimaphila); prince’s plume, prince’s pine, and either of the preceding with the prefix spotted or striped; dragon’s tongue, rheumatism root, and who knows how many others.  The name “Chimaphila” means winter-loving; the plants certainly appear happy enough peeking through that bit of snow.

Don’t confuse it with the similar Gaultheria species, which also go by the moniker “wintergreen”.  Older authorities place both genera in the family Ericaceae, but more recently Chimaphila has been placed in the Pyrolaceae.

Watch for the blossoms starting in mid-June.

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