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Orthilia secunda (Sidebells wintergreen)
Weyand, Phyllis

Orthilia secunda

Orthilia secunda (L.) House

Sidebells Wintergreen, One-sided Wintergreen

Pyrolaceae (Shinleaf Family)

Synonym(s): Orthilia secunda ssp. obtusata, Orthilia secunda var. obtusata, Pyrola secunda, Pyrola secunda ssp. obtusata, Pyrola secunda var. obtusata, Ramischia elatior, Ramischia secunda


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

Low patches of shiny, bright green leaves below racemes of 6-20 whitish-green or white flowers all turned to one side.

This species is also found south to Central America and in Eurasia. It is the only species in the genus Orthilia; it was once included in Pyrola, a larger genus of species that inhabit damp woods. Both common names refer to the straight, one-sided flower cluster. Leaves remain green throughout the winter, hence the common name wintergreen.

Many authorities show this genus to now belong in the Ericaceae family.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Subshrub
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 10 inches tall when flowering.

Bloom Information

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


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , IA , ID , IL , IN , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MT , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SD , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , NT , NU , ON , PE , QC , SK , YT
Native Distribution: Alaska south and east to Labrador, and south to southern California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Nebraska; also in eastern United States and northern Mexico.
Native Habitat: Moist coniferous woods.

National Wetland Indicator Status

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.

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-05-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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