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Spotted Wintergreen, Pipsissewa, Striped Wintergreen, Striped Prince's Pine, Striped Prince's Plume, Dragon's Tongue - Chimaphila maculata


Family: Ericaceae - Heath family Genus Common Name: Pipsissewa Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Subshrub
Chimaphila maculata - Spotted Wintergreen, Pipsissewa, Striped Wintergreen, Striped Prince's Pine, Striped Prince's Plume, Dragon's Tongue. While Spotted Wintergreen or Striped Wintergreen are frequently-used common names for Chimaphila maculata, the Wintergreen name is perhaps more properly associated with the Gautheria genus. The USDA and ITIS list it as Striped Prince’s Pine, presumably to avoid confusion on genus membership. Pipsissewa is also frequently used for this plant, although that is more frequently associated with sister species Chimaphila umbellata, which does not have the stripe on the leaves and more frequently has generally reddish blossoms, and Pipsissewa is commonly applied to the Chimaphila genus in general. Three states (New York, Maine, Illinois) in which Chimaphila maculata, according to the USDA Plants Database, has protected status also list it as Spotted Wintergreen.

Some authorities place Chimaphila in Pyrolaceae - the Shinleaf family rather than in Ericaceae – the Heath family.

There are three species of Chimaphila found in the United States. Chimaphila menziesii - Little Prince’s Pine - is found in several western states as well as British Columbia. Various subspecies of Chimaphila umbellata - Pipsissewa - are found across much of the United States and Canada. Chimaphila maculata - Spotted Wintergreen - is found in forests in every state east of the Mississippi and in Eastern Canada, and disjunctly is also found in the mountains of Arizona, Mexico, and Central America south to Panama.

Found in:
AL, AZ, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WV

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Chimaphila maculata

Distribution of Chimaphila maculata in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 22 May 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Dade County, GA Date: 2013-June-21Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
I love the shape of the tan stamens of Spotted Wintergreen. The petals are white, as shown here, or pale pink. I wonder if the small brown spots you can see on this and the other blossom photos on this page are the source of Spotted in the Spotted Wintergreen common name.
Chimaphila maculata

Site: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Dade County, GA Date: 2013-June-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The “standard” Chimaphila maculata has 10 stamens surrounding a relatively large pistil under 5 petals. Unless I miscount, this particular blossom has 9 stamens under 4 petals.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chimaphila maculata

Site: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Dade County, GA Date: 2013-June-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
I photographed this 6-petaled Spotted Wintergreen in close proximity to the plant featured in the other photographs on this page, which has 4 petals. Since Chimaphila species are 5-petaled, I guess that works out since these two plants average 5 petals. Note what I think is a floral bract near the based of the left pedicel. These bracts are wider in Chimaphila menziesii.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chimaphila maculata

Site: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Dade County, GA Date: 2013-June-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The “Wintergreen” common name is because the whorled leaves are evergreen. The white stripe along the veins in the leaves also influences the common names used for this plant. Notice in this plant there are 4 petals and 4 sepals. The plant usually has 5 petals and 5 sepals.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Chimaphila maculata

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer