Chimaphila umbellata - (L.) W. Bart.
Common Wintergreen
Other English Common Names: Common Pipsissewa, Pipsissewa, Prince's-pine
Other Common Names: pipsissewa
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Chimaphila umbellata (L.) W. Bart. (TSN 23769)
French Common Names: chimaphile ombelles
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.160011
Element Code: PDPYR01030
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Other flowering plants
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ericales Pyrolaceae Chimaphila
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Chimaphila umbellata
Taxonomic Comments: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (vol. 8, 2009) recognizes two varieties in Chimaphila umbellata: C. umbellata ssp. umbellata (the taxon which occurs across most of the species' range) and C. umbellata ssp.ssp. domingensis (of Hispaniola). FNA's C. umbellata ssp. umbellata includes C. umbellata ssp. acuta, C. umbellata ssp. cisatlantica, and C. umbellata ssp. occidentalis.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 28Aug2015
Global Status Last Changed: 29Feb1984
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Chimaphila umbellata is widespread, ranging from Alaska east to Maine and Newfoundland, south to Guatemala and Georgia. This slow-growing perennial tends to grow in undisturbed habitats in leaf and needle mulch and on decomposing logs. C. umbellata is vulnerable to soil disturbance, moderate to high intensity fires, and logging. The leaves of this species reportedly have reportedly been wild-collected for use as a flavoring in root beer and for medicine.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (28Aug2015)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (SNR), Arizona (SNR), California (SNR), Colorado (SNR), Connecticut (SNR), Delaware (S2), District of Columbia (SNR), Georgia (SNR), Idaho (SNR), Illinois (S1), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S1), Maine (SNR), Maryland (S3), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S5), Nevada (SNR), New Hampshire (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), New York (S5), North Carolina (S3), Ohio (S2), Oregon (SNR), Pennsylvania (SNR), Rhode Island (SNR), South Dakota (SNR), Utah (SNR), Vermont (SNR), Virginia (S5), Washington (SNR), West Virginia (S3), Wisconsin (SNR), Wyoming (SNR)
Canada Alberta (S4), British Columbia (SNR), Manitoba (S4S5), New Brunswick (S5), Newfoundland Island (S2), Northwest Territories (SNR), Nova Scotia (S4), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (S4), Quebec (S4S5), Saskatchewan (S3?), Yukon Territory (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Widespread in temperate and boreal regions of North America, Eurasia, and Japan; Chimaphila umbellata grows from Alaska east to Maine and Newfoundland, south to Guatemala and Georgia, with isolated populations occurring in the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala and on the island of Hispaniola.

Population Size Comments: Widespread, varying in abundance, but reportedly common in some portions of its range. Considered a common understory species, though rarely dominant in the Pacific Northwest (Vance et al. in press). Also common in California, in dry conifer forests (Hickman 1993). Abundance in Michigan varies from "widespread" in northern Michigan to "local" in the southern counties (Voss 1996). Occasional in Maine (pers. comm. D. Cameron, October 2000). Scattered throughout Pennsylvania and occasionally in the state's upland woods and barrens (Rhoads and Block 2000). Found in the northeastern counties of Ohio (Cooperrider 1995). Frequent in ravines on the eastern and western slopes of Colorado (Weber and Whittmann 1996a, Weber and Whittman 1996b).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Chimaphila umbellata requires an organic litter layer of needles or leaves and grows best in rich, undisturbed soils. Therefore, any activities resulting in soil disturbance or soil compaction - even walking on rhizomes in the soil - can be a threat (Tilford 1998). Similarly, logging would be detrimental for this shade-loving plant. C. umbellata has a variable response to fire, depending on fire intensity and duration. Intense fires in the dry season could pose a formidable threat to this species, which is inherently slow-growing and slow-propagating (Matthews 1994, Vance et al. in press).

Another potential threat to wild populations may be harvesting plants for flavorings for soft drinks. Reportedly, this species has been an ingredient in soft drinks and has been harvested from the wild in relatively large quantities (Tilford 1998, Moore 1978). However, this reported use is disputed by some. It is also commercially available in the herbal and floral markets (Vance et al. in press). This species is on the United Plant Savers "To Watch" list. Some experts in the medicinal plant industry have suggested that trade is medium to large and demand has increased over the past ten years (Robbins 1999).

According to Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association, the average use for this species is 1,000-2,000 dry pounds per year (pers. comm., December 2000). Another estimate of average annual use in the medicinal industry ranges from 5,000-8,000 dry pounds and 95% of that total is collected from wild populations (pers. comm. E. Fletcher, December 2000). Increased logging in the Pacific Northwest poses a significant threat to wild populations. Sustainable harvesting techniques have been established, so threats caused by wild-collecting plants can be mediated by individuals who follow recommended guidelines (see Vance et al. in press)

Short-term Trend Comments: Apparently relatively stable; no population inventories reporting major decline; however some experts in the medicinal plant industry have suggested that population and species have declined over the past ten years (Robbins 1999).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Widespread in temperate and boreal regions of North America, Eurasia, and Japan; Chimaphila umbellata grows from Alaska east to Maine and Newfoundland, south to Guatemala and Georgia, with isolated populations occurring in the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala and on the island of Hispaniola.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
DE Kent (10001)
IA Allamakee (19005), Clinton (19045)*, Fayette (19065)*, Jackson (19097)*, Linn (19113)*, Winneshiek (19191)
IL Winnebago (17201)*
MD Caroline (24011)
OH Ashtabula (39007), Columbiana (39029), Hocking (39073), Jefferson (39081), Lucas (39095), Monroe (39111), Summit (39153)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Choptank (02060005)+, Western Lower Delmarva (02080109)+
04 Lower Maumee (04100009)+, Grand (04110004)+
05 Upper Ohio (05030101)+, Little Muskingum-Middle Island (05030201)+, Hocking (05030204)+*, Tuscarawas (05040001)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)+
07 Root (07040008)+*, Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Upper Iowa (07060002)+, Turkey (07060004)+*, Maquoketa (07060006)+*, Upper Wapsipinicon (07080102)+*, Sugar (07090004)+*, Lower Rock (07090005)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Perennial with lance-shaped, toothed and shiny leaves in whorls, growing 6-12 inches tall. Flowers (June-Aug.) are white with red anthers (Foster and Duke 1999).
Ecology Comments: All three Chimaphila species are slow-growing and slow-propagating plants (Moore 1978). C. umbellata tends to propagate from rhizomes, but seldom from seeds. The spreading rhizomes of this plant aerate soil. Plants tend not to grow in highly disturbed sites, but may in some circumstances survive light to moderate fires. However, fire probably causes populations to decline (Vance et al. in press).
Habitat Comments: Chimaphila umbellata grows above 6500 feet in coniferous forests in the western U.S. mountains. This species is seldom seen on roadsides and forest edges, but is likely to grow in leaf and needle mulch in moist forests (Moore 1979). It may also be found in dry woods in the eastern portion of its range (Foster and Duke 1990) and on decomposing logs.
Economic Attributes
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Economic Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26Jan2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Miller, Tim, TNC-HQ; rev. K. McConnell (2001)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Cooperrider, T. S. 1995. The Dicotyledoneae of Ohio, Part 2: Linaceae through Campanulaceae. Ohio State University Press, Columbus. 656 pp.

  • Cooperrider, T.S. 1995. The Dicotyledoneae of Ohio. Ohio State University Press, Columbus.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2009. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 8. Magnoliophyta: Paeoniaceae to Ericaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxiv + 585 pp.

  • Foster, S., and J. Duke. 1990. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants- Eastern and Central North America. Peterson Field Guides Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 366 pp.

  • Hickman, J. C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 1400 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1996. Species distribution data at state and province level for vascular plant taxa of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (accepted records), from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, December, 1996.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Luteyn, J.L. 1995. Ericaceae part II: The superior-ovaried genera. Flora Neotropica monograph 66: 1-560. The New York Botanical Garden, New York.

  • Matthews, R.F. 1994. Chimaphila umbellata. In W.C. Fischer. Compiler. The Fire Effects Information System [Database]. Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. Available:http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ Accessed October2000. Missoula, MT: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory.

  • Moore, M. 1979. Medicinal plants of the mountain west. Museum of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

  • Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1061 pp.

  • Robbins, C. 1999. Medicine from US wildlands: An assessment of native plant species harvested in the United States for medicinal use and trade and evaluation of the conservation and management implications. Traffic North America. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. Available at http://www.nps.gov/plants/medicinal/.

  • Tilford, G. L. 1998. From Earth to Herbalist. Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, Montana.

  • United Plant Savers Organization. "At Risk" and "To Watch" Species Lists. Online Available:http://www.plantsavers.org/index11.html. Accessed December 2000.

  • Vance, N.C., M. Borsting and D. Pilz. In press. Special forest products species information guide for Pacific Northwest. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-XX.

  • Voss, E.G. 1996. Michigan Flora. Part III. Dicots (Pyrolaceae-Compositae). Cranbrook Institute of Science Bulletin 61 and Univ. Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 622 pp.

  • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 1996a. Colorado flora: Eastern slope. Revised edition. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 524 pp.

  • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 1996b. Colorado flora: Western slope. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 496 pp.

  • Weber, William A. and Ronald C. Wittmann. 1996. Colorado Flora: Eastern Slope.

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