Wintergreens are plants which are capable of synthesizing their own food from simple organic substances. They are perennial, hairless herbs with slender rhizomes, the sterile branches usually having a rosette of leaves at the base, often at ground level. The flowering stems are leafless but with 1 to few bracts, but occasionally foliage leaves are apparently entirely lacking. The flowers are regular to irregular, arranged in terminal, several-flowered, elongated clusters on slender individual flower stalks which arise from linear-lanceolate secondary bracts. Sometimes the flowers are single and terminal. The calyx is persistent, with the 5 lobes shorter than, to much longer than, the united portion. The 5 petals are separated, often somewhat unequal, usually concave, and deciduous. There are 10 stamens, which are bent inward. The anthers are unawned, drooping, inverted, with the basal portion (uppermost) splitting open by 2 pores. The ovary is situated on top of the flower parts, and is 5-celled. The style is straight or conspicuously bent to one side, often having a small collar just below the stigma, which is inconspicuously lobed to large and lobed from a disk. The fruit is a capsule. The genus consists of about 15 species of N. America and Eurasia, usually in coniferous forests, barely reaching the tropics. The name comes from diminutive of Latin pirus, pyrus, the pear tree, the leaves of some species somewhat pearlike in shape.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of Genus Pyrola
P. asarifolia Pink Wintergreen Evergreen herb, 10-30 cm tall. Moist, usually wooded sites, foothills-subalpine.
Flowers pale pink, 8-12 mm wide, with a long, curved, projecting style.
Leaves in basal rosettes, leathery, shiny, broadly elliptic to heart-shaped.