Paul Smiths VIC -- Saint Regis Mountain from the trail in front of the VIC building (23 June  2012)

Adirondack Wildflowers:
Shinleaf (Pyrola elliptica)

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Shinleaf in bloom at the Paul Smiths VIC (28 June 2012)Adirondack Wildflowers: Shinleaf in bloom on 28 June 2012 at the Paul Smiths VIC.

Shinleaf is a native Adirondack wildflower which blooms from early summer through midsummer. The fragrant, nodding flowers bloom on unbranched stalks up to about 10 inches high. Each stalk bears from three to 21 greenish-white, waxy flowers. Each flower is about 1/2 inch wide. The evergreen leaves are elliptical, one to three inches long, and cluster in a rosette at ground level. The plant is also referred to as Waxflower Shinleaf.

Shinleaf may be found in sandy or loamy woods and on shaded stream banks, especially under hardwoods, throughout the Adirondack Mountains and the north woods region. Shinleaf grows in woods across Canada and the northern parts of the United States, south in the mountains to West Virginia.

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Shinleaf in bud at the Paul Smiths VIC (23 June 2012) Adirondack Wildflowers: Shinleaf in bud on 23 June 2012 at the Paul Smiths VIC

The common name -- Shinleaf -- is a reference to the medicinal properties of the plant. It contains a drug closely related to aspirin; the leaves reportedly have analgesic properties and were used as a poultice on bruised shins and other sores and wounds. Such a leaf plaster was referred to as a shin plaster. Tea made from the plant is said to have been used by some native American tribes as a treatment for epileptic fits, rheumatism, indigestion, and sore throats.

Adirondack Wildflowers:  Shinleaf in bud at the Paul Smiths VIC(1 July 2011) Adirondack Wildflowers: Shinleaf in bud on1 July 2011 at the Paul Smiths VIC.

Shinleaf may be found on many of the trails at the Paul Smiths VIC. It usually begins blooming in late June or early July at the VIC.

References

Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.