Pyrola elliptica

A shinleaf of uplands with elliptical leaves and a cluster of white flowers along the top of stem

Pyrola elliptica elliptic shinleaf

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA

This native evergreen wildflower grows in late spring and into the summer under the canopy of forest trees in dry woods. It shows a high tolerance for shade. It is a member of the wintergreen family. It blooms from June to August depending on location. The elliptical leaves of this plant are relatively large (up to 3 inches) compared to related plants and form a basal rosette. They are dark olive green with a red stalk. The blade is longer than the petiole. The flowers are waxy and small with 5 thin petals. They are white or light pink with green veins. They arise at the top of a vertical stalk that is 5-10 inches long. The individual blooms point downwards and are about 5/8 inch long. You have to get close to the ground to see inside the flowers, but they have a protruding pistil with a long curving style and 10 yellow stamens.

The fruit is a brown capsule that persists over the winter. The shinleaf grows across Canada and northern parts of the United States and further south in the mountains. Members of the Pyrola genus contain a drug closely related to aspirin and the leaves have been used on bruises and wounds to reduce pain. Leaves used in this manner are called a shinplaster, giving the plant its common name. There are several other members of the genus that grow in this area, but shinleaf is the most common. It is sometimes called the shinleaf pyrola.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Occasional in dry or moist woods on rich soils.

Present throughout the state.

Wetland codes

Flowers June to August.

 Pyrola americana

 Leaves are firm and glossy while P. elliptica's are thin and dull

 Leaf blades elliptic to circular & about the same size as the leaf stalk , while P. elliptica's  are oblong to elliptical & longer than the leaf stalk

S-rank:  No rank
G-rank:  G5 (Secure)

Pyrola elliptica elliptic shinleaf

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA
Pyrola elliptica gallery
Plant Life-Form
evergreen forb
Common Names