Pyrola asarifolia (Pink Pyrola)

Plant Info
Also known as: Bog Wintergreen
Family:Ericaceae (Heath)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade, sun; dry to wet soil; woods, bogs, swamps, talus slopes, bluffs
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:6 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Raceme of 7 to 15 flowers on slender stalks at the top of the plant. Flowers have 5 roundish petals 1/6 to 3/8 inch (4.8 to 9.1 mm) long, the edges often curled down. Color is pink to purple or white at the base with pink to purple edging; flowers are ½ to ¾ inch across when fully open. A cluster of stamens with dark pink to red tips is hidden under the upper petals. The style is light green, curved down and out below the lower petals like an elephant's trunk. The calyx cupping the flower has 5 lobes that are triangular to egg-shaped, half to nearly as wide as long, less than half as long as the petals. At the base of a flower stalk is a papery bract, oblong to narrowly egg-shaped, usually as long as or longer than the stalk, occasionally shorter.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are basal, leathery, 1 to ~3 inches (24 to 71 mm) long, round to kidney shaped, often wider than long, the blade typically shorter than the leaf stalk, rounded to blunt at the tip, hairless, toothless or obscurely scalloped around the edges. The upper surface is very shiny. Flowering stems are smooth and may have a few scale-like leaves below the flower cluster.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is a capsule about 1/6 inch (to 5 mm) long, wider than long, somewhat compressed globular with 5 sections, each containing many seeds.


Pink Pyrola is about as prevalent in Minnesota as Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica). Typically Pink Pyrola is found on moister sites than the other Pyrolas, in swamps and bogs as well as along lake shores and wet meadow woodlines, though occasionally it is found on drier sites. It can't be easily confused with any other Pyrola since it is the only Pink Pyrola in Minnesota, and when not flowering, the shiny round to kidney-shaped leaves should be distinctive enough for a positive ID. There are two recognized subspecies: subsp. bracteata, limited to western North America, has leaves usually egg-shaped to elliptic with sharp tooth-like projections around the edges (dentate); subsp. asarifolia, found throughout Canada and the northern and western US including Minnesota, has leaves elliptic to round to kidney-shaped that are toothless or have minutely scalloped edging.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Savanna Portage State Park, Aitkin County, and in Cook and Hubbard counties. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin and Becker counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Gretchen NW of Pelican Rapids - Ottertail County
on: 2011-10-03 20:56:56

We own 20 acres in Scambler Township and these sweet little plants are all over. I have some incredible photos. More true pink than your pics, and loaded with waxy flowers. What a delight!

Posted by: Ken - Banning State Park
on: 2012-06-15 18:56:35

Along spur from Quarry Trail to the Hell's Gate rapids

Posted by: Carole - Scenic State Park, Bigfork MN
on: 2012-06-23 09:33:07

In bloom on June 14 2012.

Posted by: Melody - Brook Park, Kanabec County
on: 2016-06-10 09:52:20

Happy to have identified this patch at the edge of the woods.

Posted by: Marisa - Lake County
on: 2017-07-05 14:41:28

Spotted 8-10 plants with lots of flowers. At first I thought it was just a color variation of shinleaf, so glad to ID it on your site as a separate species. Thanks!

Posted by: Maria kaefer - Along the temperence river
on: 2019-07-05 10:41:45

Beautiful first time seeing it thanks to this site for helping me identify

Posted by: Jane Johnson - Tofte
on: 2019-07-16 12:40:25

So pretty - several plants at the end of our road

Posted by: Kelly Blackledge - Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, ROCHERT, MN
on: 2021-06-25 18:25:30

Several patches of this aka Bog Wintergreen on Tamarac Refuge. Often blooming next to yellow and showy lady slippers.

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