Stems: bearing three whorls of leaves at the base, continued above into a bracted scape. Leaves: orbicular, petioled, serrulate. Flowers: solitary, drooping; petals five, widely spreading, sessile; style straight; stigma peltate, large,, conspicuous, with five narrow lobes.

Asa Gray has called this fragrant flower a "single delight," and certainly it is a joy to the traveller to find its solitary drooping blossoms bent close down upon the soft green carpet of the July woods. In the deep shade of the conifers beds of these exquisite waxen Wintergreens grow in profusion, each flower hanging its head and resembling a shining star. Turn its face upwards, however, and you will find its white petals have ten yellow-tipped stamens placed at their base, and that the style, which is very large and long, projecting from a conspicuous round green ovary, is crowned by a five-lobed stigma. The leaves are set in three circles on the stem, close to the ground, and are dark green, smooth-surfaced, and have serrated margins.

The One-flowered Wintergreen is a dweller in the darkest corners of the woods, where "That delicate forest flower, With scented breath, and look so like a smile, Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mould, An emanation from the indwelling life."