One-sided Pyrola (Orthilia secunda)
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One-sided Pyrola is a native Adirondack wildflower which blooms in early summer. One-sided Pyrola is a small, evergreen perennial. The flowers of the One-sided Pyrola dangle from a single unbranched stem which is 4-8 inches high. Each greenish-white flower is about 5/16 inch wide with a protruding straight style. The leaves are elliptical and rather glossy. The fruit consists of spherical, 5-chambered, nodding capsules, which develop in late summer.
One-sided Pyrola is the sole species in the genus Orthilia. The common name of the plant reflects the fact that it was once included in Pyrola -- a larger genus of species that inhabit damp woods. The plant is also referred to as One-sided Shinleaf, Sidebells Wintergreen, and One-sided Wintergreen. The name "wintergreen" refers to the fact that the leaves remain green throughout the winter.
One-sided Pyrola grows in moist coniferous woods in the Adirondack Mountains and throughout the north woods region. Its distribution includes much of Canada and also the eastern US and northern Mexico. This species is also found in Eurasia. The leaves of the plant have reportedly been used as a tea. In addition, some native American tribes are said to have used a strong decoction of the root as an eyewash.
One-sided Pyrola can be found on the Heron Marsh Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC. It usually begins blooming in late June or early July at the VIC.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Native Plant Database.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Plants Database.
- Plants for a Future. Database.
- Flora of North America. Plant Database.
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- National Audubon Society. Field Guide to Wildflowers. Eastern Region. (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), pp. 718-719.