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Chimaphila umbellata

Chimaphila umbellata

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Chimaphila
Species: C. umbellata
Binomial name
Chimaphila umbellata
(L.) Barton

Chimaphila umbellata (Umbellate Wintergreen, Pipsissewa, or Prince's pine) is a small perennial flowering plant found in dry woodlands, or sandy soils. It is native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere.

It grows 10-35 cm tall, and has evergreen shiny, bright green, toothed leaves arranged in opposite pairs or whorls of 3-4 along the stem. Leaves have a shallowly toothed margin, where the teeth have fine hairs at their ends. The flowers are white or pink, produced in a small umbel of 4-8 together.



Although it has green leaves year-round, it turns out to get a significant portion of its nutrition from fungi in the soil (that is, it is a partial myco-heterotroph, which is not surprising as related plants, such as Pyrola, are partial or full myco-heterotrophs).[1]


  There are four subspecies:

  • Chimaphila umbellata subsp. umbellata – Europe, Asia
  • Chimaphila umbellata subsp. acuta – southwestern North America
  • Chimaphila umbellata subsp. cisatlantica – northeastern North America
  • Chimaphila umbellata subsp. occidentalis – northwestern North America


It is used as a flavoring in candy and soft drinks, particularly root beer.

"Pipsissewa" is a Cree name meaning "It-breaks-into-small-pieces". The name is also used for a character in the "Uncle Wiggly" books of Howard R. Garis.


  1. ^ Leho Tedersoo, Prune Pellet, Urmas Kõljalg and Marc-André Selosse (March, 2007). "Parallel evolutionary paths to mycoheterotrophy in understorey Ericaceae and Orchidaceae: ecological evidence for mixotrophy in Pyroleae". Oecologia 151 (2): 206-217. doi:10.1007/s00442-006-0581-2.
  • Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chimaphila_umbellata". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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