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Pipsissewa

(Chimaphila umbellata)

Other Names:

Ground holly, rheumatism weed

Range:

Family:

Pyrolaceae Pyrola family (Also classified as Ericaceae - Heath family)

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

A perennial herbaceous plant.

Height:

Can grow to 12 in high.

Leaves:

The shiny, toothed, lanceolate shaped leaves are arranged in whorls.

Stem/Trunk:

Woody stem

Root:

Taproot

Flower:

Season:

Late spring

Appearance:

The flowers are white to pink, and grow in a small umbel of 4- 8 individual flowers. Each flower contains 4 or 5 sepals (which may be separate or attached at the base), 4 or 5 petals, and twice as many stamens as petals.

Seed/Fruit:

Seed capsule

Miscellaneous characteristics:

This plant was assigned to the Heath family, and is still listed that way in some publications. Because it shares many of the characteristics of the Heath family, some texts still list it as a member of the Heath family.

Habitat:

Dry Woods

Parts Used:

Leaves

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

The leaves are edible, but they are tough and unpalatable. The leaves can be steeped to make a healthful tea. An ingredient used in soft drinks is derived from the leaves; this has led to the over harvesting of the plant in some areas.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

A member of the wintergreen family, the plant contains levels of methyl salicylate. Native Americans used a tea of the leaves to sooth backaches, coughs, bladder infections, and kidney infections. Science has proven its effectiveness as a diuretic, tonic, astringent, urinary antiseptic and antibacterial. This is a very important medicinal plant.

Medicinal Actions:

Alterative, Analgesic, Antihydropic, Antilithic, Antiseptic, Astringent, Bactericide, Depurative, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Lithotriptic, Tonic

This photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo Courtesy of Mark W. Skinner @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield