"The biological community is a vast and complicated system for sharing and distributing the energy of the sun among a diversity of life forms." ~Martson Bates
Even More Winter this Summer
Just after stumbling across bog wintergreen in the Thomas Creek drainage, I found white-veined wintergreen (Pyrola picta) as I was hiking along the ridge above Thomas Creek. This is yet another plant that I had never seen before and since I had just read about it while researching the bog wintergreen, I was very excited to come across it.
Flowers of the white-veined wintergreen
The flowers of the white-veined wintergreen look very similar to those of the bog wintergreen in that they both grow along an erect stem and are turned downward, to the ground. The flowers on the white-veined wintergreen, however, are white rather than pink as in the bog variety. Another difference between the two plants is the leaves. The leaves of the white-veined variety are not as glossy and round as those of the bog wintergreen. The white-veined wintergreen gets its name from its leaves--the white veins of the leaves are very distinctive, they expand and contract with varying amounts of sunlight--more light equals smaller veins and more green for photosynthesis. The white-veined wintergeen is hemi-mycotrophic, getting some of its nutrients from fungi in the soil, just like with the bog wintergreen.
Leaves with their white veins
Medicinally, an infusion made from the flowers of the plant has been used as a wash for for sick children.