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Pyrola elliptica (Waxflower shinleaf)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Pyrola elliptica

Pyrola elliptica Nutt.

Waxflower shinleaf, Shinleaf

Pyrolaceae (Wintergreen Family)

Synonym(s): Pyrola compacta

USDA Symbol: PYEL

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

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.

 

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 , DC , DE , IA , ID , IL , IN , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , PA , RI , SD , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY
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: Dry , Moist
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

Propagation

Description: Propagate by root cuttings or runner divisions stuck in acid peat. If young plants are containerized, they can be brought inside in Feb. or Mar. to hasten growth. Liberal additions of compost, adjusted to the proper acidity with peat or pine needles, ai
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: UPL UPL UPL UPL FACU FACU UPL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Pyrola elliptica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pyrola elliptica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pyrola elliptica

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2010-09-26
Research By: TWC Staff

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