Chimaphila umbellata

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Chimaphila umbellata
Chimaphila2.jpg
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
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.

Ecology[edit]

Although it has green leaves year-round, it receives 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]

Taxonomy[edit]

Fruit of C. umbellata subsp. occidentalis

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

Uses[edit]

Some Plateau Indian tribes used a boil of prince's pine to treat tuberculosis.[2]

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".

References[edit]

  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. PMID 17089139. 
  2. ^ Hunn, Eugene S. (1990). Nch'i-Wana, "The Big River": Mid-Columbia Indians and Their Land. University of Washington Press. p. 352. ISBN 0-295-97119-3. 

External links[edit]