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Chimaphila maculata

Chimaphila maculata (L.) Pursh

Chimaphila maculata (L.) Pursh var. dasystemma (Torr.) Kearney & Peebles

Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderEricalesTea, persimmon, blueberry, Brazil nut, azalea, many others
FamilyPyrolaceaeIncludes at least Chimaphila, Moneses, Orthilia, and Pyrola, and sometimes several genera usually placed in the family Monotropaceae
GenusChimaphilaFrom the Greek cheima, “winter weather,” and phelein, “to love,” from its evergreen habit and referring to one of the common names, wintergreen aka pipsissiwa or prince’s pine
SpeciesmaculataSpotted, referring to purple splotches on the stems of leaves or on petals

About plant names...

Pipsissewa comes from the Cree Indian name pipsisikweu, meaning “it breaks into small pieces,” from the mistaken belief that the leaves of this plant released a substance that would dissolve kidney stones. They prefer forest floors with medium shade and medium to dry moisture levels. These plants are North American natives. These plants are endangered, so please don’t disturb them.

Plants: Pipsissewa is about 3-5" (7.6-12 cm) tall. It inhabits forest floors.

Leaves: Thick, low-lying, leathery, waxy-looking leaves are dark blue-green when mature, much lighter when young. They have a prominent central white vein that branches out on larger leaves. The leaves are about 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm) long and ¼-1" (6.3-25 mm) wide. In the winter, the evergreen leaves turn purple. Leaf margins are dentate, with shallow, widely spaced teeth.

Flowers: Nodding white flowers about ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) across appear on red-brown stalks extended several inches above the leaves. Each stalk is tipped by 2-5 curving stems, each holding a flower hanging somewhere between 45° and straight down. Each flower has 5 white petals, 5 light green sepals, ten stamens arranged in perfect symmetry around the pistil, and a green pistil. Flowers appear from late spring to early summer.

Fruits: Flowers become seed capsules that eventually dry and split, releasing tiny seeds.

 

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

7/17/2009 · Mt. Lebanon St, Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 15 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

7/15/2019 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, New Long Loop, Hollis, NH
≈ 2½ × 3" (6.7 × 7.7 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

7/4/2011 · Mike and Ellen’s, Milford, PA
≈ 6 × 7" (14 × 17 cm)

Here are some similar species:
 
Pyrola americana

Pyrola elliptica
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Chimaphila maculata
Common Name

Rounded Shinleaf

Pyrola

Spotted Wintergreen
Plant Leaf clusters are low-lying, only 1½-2" (4-6 cm) tall, while flower stalks reach up to 12" (30 cm). Leaf clusters are low-lying, only 1½-3" (4-8 cm) tall, arranged in basal rosettes. Flower stalks reach 4-10" (10-25 cm). Usually there is a single flower stalk; occasionally there are two. A low-growing plant (about 9" (22 cm)) that inhabits forest floors.
Flowers On flower spikes (racemes) with 3 to 22 hanging flowers. Each flower is white, cream-colored, or pink or rarely red, ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) around, with five round petals. There are 10 yellow or brown-tipped stamens, and a green pistil which extends well beyond the flower. On flower spikes (racemes) with 3 to 21 hanging flowers. Each flower is white or greenish-white, ¼-½" (8.3-12 mm) around, with five rounded petals. Petals sometimes have green veins. There are a cluster of orange-tipped stamens, and a green pistil which extends well beyond the flower. At the base of each flower are five sepals, forming a green star. Flowers appear from June to August. Nodding white flowers about ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) across appear on red-brown stalks. Each stalk is tipped by 2-5 curving stems, each holding a downward-hanging flower. Each flower has 5 white petals, 5 light green sepals, ten stamens, and a green pistil. Flowers appear from late spring to early summer.
Leaves Leaves emerge from the base of the plant, in a basal rosette. They are quite round, or sometimes egg-shaped, and shiny, with a vein structure that makes them look pleated or rippled. Leaf edges are very slightly scalloped. Leaves are 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm) around. Leaves emerge in a basal rosette from the base of the plant. They are dull, oval, 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm) long and ½-2" (1.5-5 cm) wide. Leaf edges are very slightly scalloped. The leaves are so low that they are often overtopped by leaves from surrounding plants. Leaf stalks are shorter than the leaf blades. Thick, low-lying, leathery, waxy-looking leaves are dark blue-green when mature, much lighter when young. They have a prominent central white vein that branches out on larger leaves. The leaves are about 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm) long and ¼-1" (6.3-25 mm) wide. In the winter, the evergreen leaves turn purple. Leaf margins are dentate, with shallow, widely spaced teeth.
Fruit A dry capsule ¹/₁₆-⅛" (3-3.5 mm) around. A flattened round dry capsule ¼" (6.3 mm) around. Seed capsules that eventually dry and split, releasing tiny seeds.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Moist forests at elevations below 1.3 mi (2.1 km). Shaded woods and stream banks, especially under hardwoods. Forest floors with medium shade and medium to dry moisture levels.
Type Wild Wild Wild

 

Online References:

Chimaphila maculata on www.carolinanature.com

Chimaphila maculata at Illinois Wildflowers

Chimaphila maculata at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Chimaphila maculata on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Chimaphila maculata at the Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History

Chimaphila maculata on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Chimaphila maculata on www.newhampshirewildflowers.com

Chimaphila maculata at 2bnTheWild.com

Chimaphila maculata at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Chimaphila maculata on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

10/5/2018 · Oak Hill, Littleton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3½" (11 × 9.7 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

7/12/2013 · Wooden Bridge, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 3 × 3" (8 × 8.4 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

Nashoba Conservation Land on Mt. Lebanon Rd · 7/16/2009 · Mt. Lebanon St, Pepperell, MA
≈ 5 × 7" (13 × 18 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

7/15/2019 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, New Long Loop, Hollis, NH
≈ 4½ × 5" (11 × 13 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

9/23/2007
≈ 4 × 2½" (10 × 7 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

7/15/2019 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, New Long Loop, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 3½" (12 × 9.8 cm)

Chimaphila maculata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 17 Aug 2019.

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Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

7/7/2012 · Gibbet Hill, Groton, MA
≈ 3 × 3" (7.7 × 7.9 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

7/15/2019 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, New Long Loop, Hollis, NH
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 14 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

8/30/2010 · Old RR bed near Wilkins Farm, Pepperell, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

9/16/2017 · Wills Hole/Town Forest, Acton, MA
≈ 4½ × 5" (12 × 13 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

9/16/2017 · Wills Hole/Town Forest, Acton, MA
≈ 5 × 7" (12 × 17 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

7/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 10 cm)

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, Striped Wintergreen, Spotted Pipsissewa)

4/22/2016 · Wildflower Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Range:

About this map...