Pyrola americana (Round-leaved Pyrola)
|Also known as:||American Wintergreen|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; dry woods|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||2 to 20 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Raceme of 6 to 20 hanging flowers on short stalks at the top of the stem. Flowers are creamy white, about ½ to ¾ inch across with five round petals and a cluster of yellow 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. The sepals are light green and egg-shaped to oblong, about twice as long as wide and about 1/3 as long as the petals.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are basal, mostly round, toothless or with shallow rounded teeth around the edges, hairless, 1 to 1½ inches long, the leaf base narrowing to an obscurely winged stalk, the blade shorter than or equal to the leaf stalk. The upper surface is dark green and glossy, very veiny. The stem is smooth.
Preferring northern sandy forests, Round-leaved Pyrola can be found in coniferous stands of red and jack pine, but like many adaptable native species it's also been collected in sphagnum swamps. The flowers are similar to the more common Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica), which has triangular sepals about as long as wide and leaves that are dull and longer than wide. All of the Pyrolas have been move from family Pyrolaceae (Wintergreen) to Ericaceae (Heath).
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?