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Chimaphila maculata (L.) Pursh

Photo: Chimaphila maculata

Spotted Wintergreen

Habitat: Dry woods. [Conifer forest (forest, upland); Hardwood to mixed forest (forest, upland)]

Range: Southern Maine to southern Ontario, south to Georgia, and west to Alabama.

Aids to Identification: A perennial herb, 7-20 cm in height, with toothed, lanceolate, whorled leaves. The dark green leaves are mottled with white along the veins. Its nodding flowers are white or pinkish, 12-20mm wide.

Photo: Chimaphila maculata

Ecological characteristics: In Maine , this species tends to inhabit mixed woods with full to partial canopy on slight slopes. All Maine populations of spotted wintergreen are small and apparently vulnerable.

Phenology: Flowers June - August.

Family: Ericaceae

Synonyms: None noted.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 13 town(s) in the following county(ies): Cumberland, Franklin, Oxford, Somerset, York.

Photo: Chimaphila maculata

Dates of documented observations are: 1975, 1976, 1977, 1984 (2), 1985, 1987 (2), 1989 (2), 1991, 1996 (2), 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

Reason(s) for rarity: At northern limit of range.

Conservation considerations: This plant is restricted statewide to southern Maine, and known populations are vulnerable to conversion of their habitat to residential or commercial use. Effects of logging are unknown, but partial removal of the canopy would be less likely to adversely affect the plant than complete removal. Popular for terraria or shady wildflower gardens: Maine populations are all small, and digging any plants could lead to the disappearance of the natural population. Wild plants need to be left undisturbed.