Pyrola chlorantha (Green-flowered Pyrola)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Ericaceae (Heath)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; dry to wet soil; coniferous and hardwood forests, swamps, bogs, talus slopes, cliffs
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:4 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Raceme of 3 to 10 hanging flowers on short stalks at the top of the stem. Flowers are greenish white, with five roundish petals 1/6 to ~1/3 inch (4.5 to 9 mm) long and a cluster of yellowish to brown-tipped stamens under the upper petals. The style is pale green and curves down and out below the lower petals like an elephant's trunk. Flowers are about ½ inch across when fully open. The calyx cupping the flower has 5 lobes that are light green and triangular to egg-shaped, about as long as wide and less than 1/3 as long as the petals. At the base of a flower stalk is a papery bract, lance-linear to awl shaped, usually shorter than the stalk.

Leaves: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are basal, leathery, 1 to ~1 1/3 inches (to 35 mm) long, about as wide as long, mostly roundish, broadest above, at or below the middle, toothless or with shallow rounded teeth around the edges, hairless, mostly rounded at the tip and the base, the leaf base sometimes narrowing to an obscurely winged stalk that is often longer than the blade. The upper surface is dark green, dull, sometimes with pale green or whitish bands bordering the larger veins on the upper surface. Flowering stems are smooth and may have a few scale-like leaves below the flower cluster.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

Fruit is a capsule about 1/6 inch (to 4.5 mm) long, wider than long, somewhat compressed globular with 5 sections, each containing many seeds.


Green-flowered Pyrola has been recorded in about equal numbers in dry northern forests and wet coniferous swamps, less often on cliffs and moss-covered rocks. A good place to come across it is along hiking trails in Itasca, Savanna Portage and any of the state parks in the arrowhead. Like most Pyrolas, when you come across them, there are usually a number of flowering plants in a loose colony. The flowers are much like Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica), which has larger leaves more consistently elliptic, medium green and only somewhat leathery, and Round-leaved Pyrola (Pyrola americana), which usually has shiny leaves and floral bracts longer than the flower stalk.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Minnesota Goose Garden

Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓

Map of native plant resources in the upper midwest

  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Spangle Creek Labs - Native orchids, lab propagated

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Susan Premo - 18 mile lake between Finland and Ely
on: 2021-06-30 13:29:23

I have a couple of photos, I will try and post on Facebook, having a bit of trouble getting to mn wildflowers on it. Beautiful new pyrola for me, 4 so far!

Posted by: Don Wendel - Birch Lake mid-Gunflint Trail
on: 2021-07-11 10:04:13

I'm not entirely sure what I found is the green-flowered pyrola, but I am reasonably sure. The leaves and flowers are the same as in the photos. And I have found the GFP in the typical habitate of the flower. However, the photos show a leaf of a lily that dominates and overshadows the leaves of the GFP, making accurate id questionable. The patch I found them is pathside on my property with just a small culster of plants.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.