Scape, - Upright, scaly, terminating in a many-flowered raceme. Leaves. - From the root, thin and dull, somewhat oval. Flowers. - White, nodding. Calyx. - Five-parted. Corolla. - Of five rounded, concave petals. Stamens. - Ten. Pistil. - One, with a long curved style.
Plate XVIII. Shin-Leaf. - P. elliptica
In the distance these pretty flowers suggest the lilies-of-the-valley. They are found in the woods of June and July, often in close company with the pipsissewa. The ugly common name of shin-leaf arose from an early custom of applying the leaves of this genus to bruises or sores; the English peasantry being in the habit of calling any kind of plaster a "shin-plaster" without regard to the part of the body to which it might be applied. The old herbalist, Salmon, says that the name Pyrola was given to the genus by the Romans on account of the fancied resemblance of its leaves and flowers to those of a pear-tree. The English also call the plant "wintergreen," which name we usually reserve for Gaultheria procumbens.
P. rotundifolia is a species with thick, shining, rounded leaves.