Flowering scape 6 to 20 inches high with five to twenty flowers in a terminal raceme, the flowers in the axils of small bracts. Leaves basal, orbicular or oval, spreading, blunt, thick in texture, evergreen and shining above, the margins crenulate, narrowed, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, 1 to 4 inches long with petioles mainly shorter than the blades. Flowers white, or faintly tinged with pink, nodding and fragrant, one-half to two-thirds of an inch broad on pedicels one-fourth of an inch long or less. Calyx lobes oblong or lanceolate; petals about three times as long as the calyx lobes, thick and blunt; stamens and style declined, the style projecting conspicuously from the flower. Fruit a small capsule about one-fourth of an inch in diameter.
Figure XX - Round-leaved American Wintergreen(Pyrola americana Sweet)
In dry woods, usually in sandy soil, Nova Scotia to South Dakota south to Georgia and Ohio. Flowering in June and July. The most showy of our native species of Wintergreen or Shinleaf, as they are sometimes called.
There are three additional species of Shinleaf or Winter-green in New York. The Greenish-flowered Winter-green (Pyrola chloran-t h a Swartz), has small, orbicular, thick-textured leaf blades, one-half to 11/2 inches long, and greenish white flowers about one-half of an inch broad. Frequent in dry woods.
The Liver-leaf Wintergreen (Pyrola asari folia Miehaux) has reniform leaf blades visually wider than long, and a raceme of nodding, purple or rose-colored flowers which are one-half to two-thirds of an inch broad. A boreal species, of cold, moist woods and swamps of the north, known in New York only from a few Adirondack localities.
The One-sided Wintergreen (Pyrola secunda Linnaeus) has short, slender stems, not stiffly erect but ascending, 2 to 10 inches high, leaves oval, ovate or nearly orbicular in shape, pointed at the apex with crenulate-serrate margins; flowers usually many in a one-sided terminal raceme, white or greenish white and soon drooping, one-fourth to one-third of an inch broad.
The One-flowered Wintergreen (Moneses uniflora (Linnaeus) A. Gray) is closely related to the Pyrolas and has a single flower, one-half to two-thirds of an inch broad on a stem 2 to 6 inches high. In general appearance and character of leaves it resembles most closely the small Pyrola secunda.