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Pipsissewa, Striped Wintergreen
Chimaphila maculata

This Native American name “Pipsissewa” comes from the word “pipsiskeweu,” which means “breaks into small pieces,” a reference to the plants use as a treatment for kidney stones.

This is a common plant in the forest, and is especially easy to spot in the winter among the brown leaf-litter.

Now here’s something pretty neat: once the nodding flowers are fertilized, they rotate 180 degrees, facing upward, and develop erect capsules that split open in the wind to disperse numerous tiny seeds.

Size: 10-35 cm tall
Family: 	Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Habitat: Dry, slightly acidic forests and woodlands. 
Identification: "A low-growing evergreen perennial with upright branches arising from creeping underground rhizomes. Thick lance-shaped leaves with broad whitish green stripes along the veins, mostly crowded near stem tip. Nodding white to pink waxy flowers in loose clusters well above the leaves. Fruit a flattened spherical capsule."  From Wildflowers & Plant Communities  Blooms May-June, fruits July-October
Uses: Used as a flavoring for candy, soft drinks and root beer. The roots can be boiled to make a tea. 
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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