Genus of the Week
Week of Mar. 23-29
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
This week's genus:
Family: Pyrolaceae: The Wintergreens
Number of Species: 8
Root: Greek, from cheima (winter) and philein (to love)
The genus Chimaphila is part of a family of perennials with evergreen foliage that can propagate vegetatively via rhizomes.
This genus can be recognized by its characteristic thick dark green leaves and white to pink colored flowers.
Common names for the genus include Prince's Pine, Pipsissewa (from the Algonquins), and of course, Wintergreen.
The Wintergreens are closely related to the Heath family (Ericaceae) and are often classified in that family.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Chimaphila species:
- The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has pictures and general information about two Chimaphila species common to the Northeast United States and Canada: C. umbellata (Pipsissewa) and C. maculata (Spotted Wintergreen).
- Find out about the many herbal properties of Chimaphila species at Botanical.com.
- Healthgate is another good source for herbal information about this genus.
- NativeTech also offers some information about the herbal uses of Pipsissewa, as well as some insight into its Native American name.
- Georgia Court College (in New Jersey!) has a nice photo and description of C. maculata, a species found in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
This same species has been considered endangered in Canada since 1987.
- The University of Hawaii has an absolutely amazing up-close photo of a flower from C. umbellata.
- For those of you interested in taxonomy, the Biota of North America Program (BONAP) at Texas A&M University offers a list of species, subspecies, and varieties for the genus Chimaphila.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
Current Genus of the Week
Jenn's Home Page