(Chimaphila umbellata ssp. cisatlantica)

Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Pipsissewa is a low, slow growing, evergreen, dwarf shrub. It is native to North America from Nova Scotia south to South Carolina and west to Minnesota. In Minnesota it is common in the northeast and central regions, uncommon in the metro and southeast regions, and absent from the southwest region and the western counties. It requires rich, undisturbed soil covered by a layer of leaves or needles. Logging or even compressing the soil by walking on it are threats to this plant.

Pipsissewa is an erect, perennial dwarf shrub (subshrub) that rises on one or a few stems from an underground, creeping, horizontal stem (rhizome). It can be 4 to 18 (10 to 45 cm) tall but it is usually no more than 9 (23 cm) in hight in Minnesota. It often forms small, sometimes dense and mat-like colonies.

The stems are erect and hairless. They usually have 2 to 4 short, spreading branches. The branches elongate each year. After several years, they recline on the ground and produce roots where a node touches the ground.

The leaves are arranged mostly in whorls of 3 to 8, sometimes as opposite pairs. They are on 116 to ½ (2 to 12 mm) long leaf stalks (petioles). The petioles are hairless and are grooved above. The leaf blade is inversely lance-shaped to narrowly inversely egg-shaped (widest near the base), sometimes narrowly elliptic (widest in the middle), 1½ to 3 (38 to 80 mm) long, and 516 to 1116 (8 to 27 mm) wide. They are narrowly angled or tapered at the base and narrowly or broadly angled at the tip. The upper surface is dark green, shiny, and hairless. The lower surface is pale green, brownish-green or copperish-green, dull, and hairless. The midvein is depressed on the upper surface, raised on the lower surface. The margins are coarsely toothed, especially from the middle to the tip of the blade, with sharp, forward pointing teeth.

The inflorescence is a branched cluster (corymb) of 3 to 7 flowers at the end of an upright, 1½ to 4 (4 to 10 cm) long inflorescence stalk (peduncle). The peduncle is leafless and is covered with tiny bumps (pappilose). It rises well above the uppermost leaves. Each flower droops downward at the end of a to 1 (17 to 35 mm) long flower stalk (pedicel).

The flowers are saucer shaped and to ½ in diameter. There are 5 outer floral leaves (sepals), 5 petals, 10 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals (together the calyx) are broadly egg-shaped, 132to (1 to 3 mm) long, and 116to (2 to 3 mm) wide. They are green, yellowish-green, or reddish-green with papery white margins. The petals are broadly egg-shaped or inversely egg-shaped, to ½ (4 to 12 mm) long, and to 516 (4 to 8 mm) wide. They are white tinged with pink or rose. The stamens have white, 316 to ¼ (5 to 7 mm) long stalks (filaments), and pink to brownish-pink anthers. The ovary is green and depressed globe-shaped. The style is very short, less than 132 (1 mm) long. It is capped by a green, to 316 wide stigma.

The fruit is a flattened globe-shaped, to ¼ (4 to 6 mm) long, ¼ to (6 to 10 mm) in diameter capsule. The fruits are held erect and persist into the following spring.




4 to 9


Flower Color


White tinged with pink or rose


Similar Species


Dry. Coniferous and deciduous forests. Partial sun. Sandy soil.




Early to late July


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Ericales (heathers, balsams, primroses, and allies)  


Ericaceae (heath)  
  Subfamily Monotropoideae  
  Tribe Pyroleae  


Chimaphila (wintergreens)  
  Species Chimaphila umbellata (pipsissewa)  

Some sources, including GRIN and Flora of North America, place the tribe Pyroleae in the subfamily Monotropoideae. Others, including NCBI and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, place Pyroleae in the subfamily Pyroloideae.

There are four subspecies of Chimaphila umbellata. One subspecies occurs in Europe and Asia, three in North America, and just one, ssp. cisatlantica, in Minnesota. Some authors do not recognize ssp. cisatlantica, treating it as a synonym for ssp. umbellata. Most authors recognize ssp. cisatlantica as the subspecies occurring in northeast North America, with ssp. umbellata restricted to Europe and Asia.


Subordinate Taxa




Chimaphila corymbosa

Chimaphila umbellata ssp. umbellata

Chimaphila umbellata var. cisatlantica


Common Names



prince’s pine

umbellate wintergreen











The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube. Plural: calyces.



A flat-topped or convex inflorescence in which the stalked flowers grow upward from various points on the main stem to approximately the same horizontal plane. The outer flowers open first.



Narrowly oval, broadest at the middle, narrower at both ends, with the ends being equal.



On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.



The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.



On plants: A tiny, rounded, nipple-like projection on the surface of a leaf or petal. On mushrooms: A small, raised, sharply pointed projection on the cap above the point of attachment with the stalk.



On plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. On insects: the second segment of the antennae. On Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen: the preferred term is petiole.



In angiosperms, the stalk of a single flower or a flower cluster; in club mosses, the stalk of a strobilus or a group of strobili.



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Extending nearly horizontal.



A ring-like arrangement of similar parts arising from a common point

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Other Videos
  Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)
Robin Ackeret

Sep 2, 2011

This study is based almost entirely on the Pipsissewa plant,((Pepsi?)) also known as Chimaphila umbellata. As expected found around the moss, Oregon grape and Salal in a moister than average locale around 4,000 feet in the Oregon Cascade Mountains. There was a lot of medium level flowers and plants including red Huckleberries. This ferny slope will soon be host to Golden Chanterelle mushrooms, Lobster of the Woods , and large Cauliflower mushrooms. Don't worry my friends, I plan on finding those and filming them as well Peace, Robin!!!!!!




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Location: Cass County

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Created: 10/25/2020

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