Pyrola elliptica (Shinleaf)
|Also known as:||Waxflower Shinleaf, Wild Lily-of-the-valley|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist woods|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||5 to 10 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: UPL MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Raceme of 7 to 15 hanging flowers on slender stalks at the top of the plant. Flowers are about 1/3 inch across with 5 oval petals and a cluster of, orange-tipped stamens under the upper petals. Petal color is waxy white, greenish white or yellowish green and there may be greenish veins on the petals. The sepals are triangular, about as long as wide and about ¼ as long as the petals. The style is pale green and curves down and out below the lower petals like an elephant's trunk.
Leaves are basal, oval, up to 3 inches long and 2 inches wide, with a round tip and tapering slightly at the base. The leaf surface is dull green and there are barely noticeable teeth all around the edges. The leaf stalk is as long as or shorter than the leaf blade.
There are a few different members of this family that have similar flowers. Shinleaf is distinguished primarily by the dull leaves that are longer than wide and the short leaf stalk. It is the most common Pyrola in Minnesota. All of the Pyrolas have been move from family Pyrolaceae (Wintergreen) to Ericaceae (Heath).
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Photos by K. Chayka taken a Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?