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Native Plant of the Week: Spotted Wintergreen

Family: Ericaceae


Name: Chimaphila maculata


Bloom Time: July-August


Flower: White


Soil Condition: Dry, well-drained, acidic


Light: Shade


Size: 6-10" tall by 6-9" wide


Native Range: Eastern United States including Long Island


Zone: 5-8


This adorable wildflower ground cover has fragrant, waxy flowers and evergreen leaves with a white stripe along the midvein (center of the leaf). It is naturally found under pine, hemlock, and oak trees in dry, sandy, shady sites. It spreads slowly by rhizomes and seeds.

Maintenance: None. Transplanting is difficult as it depends on a mycorrhizal relationship in the soil to flourish.


Benefits: Deer-resistant. Nectar source. Cross-pollinated by bumble bees, mostly Bombus perplexus (aka perplexed bumble bee, and yes, we have this one on Long Island)


Fun Facts: Native Americans use the leaves to make tea to treat rheumatism and stomach problems and the crushed leaves were applied as a poultice to sores and wounds. Often confused with Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen).


Companion Plants: Carex pensylvanica (oak sedge), Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern), Pinus strobus (eastern white pine), Quercus alba (white oak)


Photos: flowers, open seed capsules, winter color

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