Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Pyrola elliptica


Waxflower shinleaf, Shinleaf


Pyrolaceae (Wintergreen Family)



Pyrola elliptica (Waxflower shinleaf)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Greenish-white, waxy, fragrant flowers are in an elongated cluster on a stalk that rises above evergreen basal leaves. The nodding, white flowers of shinleaf occur on a 6-10 in. stalk and each has five petals; a long, curved style; and ten stamens with yellow anthers. Each stalk bears 3-21 flowers. The thick, basal, evergreen leaves are broadly oval and cluster in a rosette at ground level.

One of the most common of several species of Pyrola. Round-leaved Pyrola (P. americana), has leathery, roundish leaves. The Pyrolas yield a drug closely related to aspirin; the leaves have been used on bruises and wounds to reduce pain. Such a leaf plaster has been referred to as a shin plaster, which accounts for the common name of this plant.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug

Distribution

USA: AZ , CT , DE , ID , IL , IN , IA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MT , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , NC , ND , OH , PA , RI , SD , VT , VA , WV , WI , WY , DC
Canada: NB , NL , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Nf. to B.C., s. to MD, WV, IN, n. IL, SD & NM
Native Habitat: Dry or moist woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist or dryish, humus-rich, acid soil.
Conditions Comments: Difficult to establish but one of the few eastern woodland plants to flower in midsummer in deep shade. Good ground cover.

Benefit

Use Medicinal: The Pyrolas contain a drug closely related to aspirin; the leaves have been used on bruises and wounds to reduce pain. Such a leaf plaster has been referred to as a shin plaster, which accounts for the common name of this plant. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Last Update: 2010-09-26