Stems: three-to-ten flowered. Leaves: small, orbicular, coriaceous, not shining. Flowers: nodding; calyx-lobes short, ovate, acute; petals very obtuse; stamens declined; anthers distinctly contracted below the openings, with beaked tips; style declined, and curved upwards towards the apex, longer than the petals.
This Lily-of-the-Valley-like plant is found in the dry woods among the moss, and always in the shade. On a tall, slender, single-bracted stalk grow numerous little nodding greenish-white bells, five-lobed, with yellow-brown stamens and a long, protruding, green style that is curved upwards at the apex and tipped by a large five-parted stigma. The leaves, round and small, grow in a cluster at the base of the plant, which springs from running roots. It has a slight sweet odour, and, in common with all the Pyrolas, is an evergreen.
Pyrola secunda, or One-sided Wintergreen, has erect stems when young, but as the days pass and the little buds open, the weight of the secund raceme bends it over until it droops gracefully downwards. The flowers, which all grow on one side of the stem, are greenish-white in hue, and the long style protrudes far beyond the petals. The leaves grow at the base of the plant and are oval, their margins being serrated; they extend a short way up the stem, which is frequently bracted above.
Pyrola minor, or Small Wintergreen, is a smaller, more delicate species found principally near running water, and which has whiter bells than either of the two preceding forms. It may always be distinguished from other Pyrolas, even in bud, by the fact that it has a short style, which does not protrude beyond the petals of the globular blossoms. A slight fragrant scent emanates from its waxen bells. The leaves are oval with small rounded teeth and the flowers are nodding.