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Pyrola elliptica - Nutt.

Common Name Waxflower Shinleaf
Family Pyrolaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rich, mainly dry woods[222, 235].
Range Northern N. America - Newfoundland to Alaska and south to Virginia and Nebraska.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Pyrola elliptica Waxflower Shinleaf


William S. Justice @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Pyrola elliptica Waxflower Shinleaf
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Pyrola elliptica is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in leaf all year, in flower from June to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Analgesic  Ophthalmic  Tonic  Vulnerary

The leaves have analgesic properties and were used as a poultice on bruised shins and other sores and wounds[207, 222, 257]. A tea made from the whole plant was used to treat epileptic fits in babies[222, 257]. A decoction of the whole plant has been used as eye drops to treat sore eyes, sties and inflamed eyelids[257]. A tea made from the leaves was used as a gargle for sore throats and cankers in the mouth[222, 257]. A tea made from the roots is tonic[222].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist sandy woodland soil[111, 200] in a cool position with partial shade[1, 11, 200]. Requires a peaty or leafy acid soil that remains moist in the summer[200]. The flowers have a delicate sweet perfume[245]. This is a very difficult plant to grow. It requires a mycorrhizal relationship in the soil and therefore needs to be grown initially in soil collected from around an established plant[200]. It is also very difficult from seed as well as being intolerant of root disturbance which makes division difficult[1]. This species is extremely rare and endangered in the wild[200].

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Propagation

Seed - the only information we have on this species is that it is difficult from seed and germinates infrequently[200]. We would suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe if this is possible. Sow it into soil collected from around an established plant, only just covering the seed, and put the pot in a shady part of a cold frame. Pot up any young seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle, once again using soil from around an established plant. Plant out into their permanent positions when the plants are large enough. You should not need to use soil from around an established plant to do this since the soil in the pot will contain the necessary micorrhiza. Division with great care in the spring[1, 111]. Pot up the divisions using some soil from around an established plant, grow on in a lightly shaded part of a greenhouse or frame and do not plant out until the plants are growing away vigorously[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Chimaphila maculataSpotted Wintergreen, Striped prince's pine, Pipsissewa13
Chimaphila umbellataPipsissewa23
Moneses unifloraSingle Delight12
Orthilia secundaSidebells Wintergreen11
Pterospora andromedeaWoodland Pinedrops11
Pyrola asarifoliaBog Wintergreen, Liverleaf wintergreen, Pink wintergreen01
Pyrola chloranthaGreen-Flowered Wintergreen01
Pyrola minorWintergreen, Snowline wintergreen11
Pyrola rotundifoliaRound-Leaved Wintergreen02

 

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Expert comment

Author

Nutt.

Botanical References

200235

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Sun Mar 23 2008

I have apparently discovered a small patch of Pyrola E. growing just outside Sudbury, Ontario. I have posted a photo on the site listed below. So if it's rare and endangered, what do you think I should do. It is living in a very precarious site. It is on a small "rock island" on the edge of a mine tailings waste dump.

Dave's Garden

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