E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Pyrola picta Sm.
white-veined wintergreen (Nootka wintergreen; whiteveined wintergreen)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)
(Previously in Pyrolaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #2722)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Pyrola picta
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial herb from slender rhizomes; sterile shoots with several, or a rosette of, leaves; flowering stems 1 to several, 10-30 cm tall, with several lance-shaped bracts.
Sometimes leafless; usually with at least a few basal leaves, evergreen, leathery, elliptic to egg-shaped (or oblanceolate), the blades 2-7 cm long, pointed or rounded at the tip, blunt to pointed at the base, entire to minutely-toothed, upper surfaces often dark green and greyish-mottled along the main veins, sometimes pale green and not mottled, lower surfaces often purple, sometimes bluish-waxy when young; stalks to 7 cm long.
Inflorescence a 5- to 25-flowered terminal raceme, the flowers about 1 cm wide, weakly bilaterally symmetric; flower stalks spreading, 4-10 mm long, from linear to lanceolate bracts less than length of stalks; corollas open, the petals yellowish or greenish-white to purplish, oval to egg-shaped, 6-8 mm long; sepals green to reddish, triangular to egg-shaped, about 2 mm long, tips pointed; anthers 2-5.5 mm long, sharp-pointed on the lower tips, pores on the sides of short tubes; styles declined, curved, about 10 mm long.
Capsules, globe-shaped, up to 5 mm wide.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic forests in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in SW BC, infrequent in SE BC; E to SW AB, and S to ID, MT, CO, and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Pyrola picta

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 692 1590
Slope Gradient (%) 0 26 150
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 212 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(12), CWH(154), ESSF(4), ICH(112), IDF(59), MH(2), MS(20), SBS(4)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade­tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American forb; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and latitude. Species occurs on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils. Widespread and scattered in coniferous forests on water-shedding sites. Usually associated with Hylocomium splendens, Linnaea borealis, and Pleurozium schreberi. Characteristic of friable Mor and acidic Moder humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Pyrola aphylla var. leptosepala Nutt.
Pyrola aphylla var. paucifolia T.J. Howell
Pyrola blanda Andres
Pyrola conardiana Andres
Pyrola dentata Sm.
Pyrola dentata var. apophylla Copeland
Pyrola dentata var. integra Gray
Pyrola pallida Greene
Pyrola paradoxa Andres
Pyrola picta subsp. dentata (Sm.) Piper
Pyrola picta subsp. integra (Gray) Piper
Pyrola picta subsp. pallida Andres
Pyrola picta var. dentata (Sm.) Dorn
Pyrola septentrionalis Andres
Pyrola sparsifolia Suksd.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References