Spotted wintergreen’s leaves can be found at any time of year but the plant only blooms from June to August.
The flowers hang like a chandelier from three branches on the main stem. Each flower resembles a lamp: five up swept white petals, paired anthers, and a bulbous green pistil (shown above).
You can tell the difference between spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) and its close relative Pipsissewa because spotted wintergreen’s leaves are pointed, whorled and distinctly striped on the midrib. For this reason it’s also called “striped wintergreen” — easy to remember when you see the leaves. Where are the spots?
Striped wintergreen is endangered in Canada, Illinois and Maine and exploitably vulnerable in New York. I found this one in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.
(photos by Kate St. John)