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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Flower of the Day: Spotted Wintergreen

aka striped prince’s pine; Chimaphila maculata; Pyrolaceae (shinleaf family; some authorities place it in the Ericaceae (heath family))

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This low-growing (only a few inches tall) evergreen plant likes the shade of deep woods.  The flowers most often appear in pairs, though there can also be one or three flowers together.  It’s found in eastern North America from Florida through Quebec, but is endangered in much of Canada, Maine, and Illinois, and is classed as exploitably vulnerable in New York.

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