Prince’s Pine or Pipsisewa

Prince’s Pine, Pipsisewa, Wintergreen, or Waxflower
Chimaphila umbellate

This is a very attractive native perennial that can be found in dry, mountain woodlands growing along side other kinds of wintergreen (like Striped Wintergreen , Round-leaved Pyrola, or American Wintergreen).

Prince’s Pine has shiny-green, leathery, whorled leaves that are toothed. The pink to white flowers are waxy-looking and borne on yellowish stems that can hold up to 15 flowers. The petals of the flowers are sometimes pushed backwards (reflexed), as seen in some of the photos here. The fruits form soon after the flower withers and may persist throughout the winter and into the next bloom cycle.

The name Pipsisewa is an American Indian name that roughly translates into “it breaks into small pieces”. The plant had several medicinal uses, including the treatment of kidney stones and tuberculosis.  Prince’s Pine is a partial myco-heterotroph, meaning it receives some portion of its food from fungi.

These photos were taken in June near Pandapas Pond in Blacksburg, VA.

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