Pipsissewa, Prince’s Pine – Flowers

(Chimaphila umbellata) Wintergreen family

Flowers—Flesh-colored, or pinkish, fragrant, waxy, usually with deep pink ring around centre, and the anthers colored ; about 1/2 in. across ; several flowers in loose, terminal cluster.

Calyx 5-cleft ; corolla of 5 concave, rounded, spreading petals ; to stamens, the filaments hairy ; style short, conical, with a round stigma. Stem: Trailing far along ground, creeping, or partly subterranean, sending up sterile and flowering branches 3 to 10 in. high. Leaves: Opposite or in whorls, evergreen, bright, shining, spatulate to lance-shaped, sharply saw-edged.

Preferred Habitat—Dry woods, sandy leaf-mould.

Flowering Season–June—August.

Distribution—British Possessions and the United States north of Georgia from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Also Mexico, Europe, and Asia.

A lover of winter indeed (cheima = winter and phileo = to love) is the prince’s pine, whose beautiful dark leaves keep their color and gloss in spite of snow and intense cold. A few yards of the trailing stem, easily ripped from the light soil of its woodland home, make a charming indoor decoration, especially when the little brown seed-cases remain. Few flowers are more suggestive of the woods than these shy, dainty, deliciously fragrant little blossoms.

The Spotted Wintergreen, or Pipsissewa (C. maculata), closely resembles the prince’s pine, except that its slightly larger white or pinkish flowers lack the deep pink ring ; and the lance-shaped leaves, with rather distant saw-teeth, are beautifully mottled with white along the veins. When we see short-lipped bees and flies about these flowers, we may be sure their pollen-covered mouths come in contact with the moist stigma on the summit of the little top-shaped style, and so effect cross-fertilization.