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

Pyrola asarifolia Michx.
pink wintergreen (common pink wintergreen; large wintergreen; liverleaf wintergreen)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)
(Previously in Pyrolaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Neil L. Jennings  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #8849)

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Distribution of Pyrola asarifolia
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a rhizome; stems, including flowering-stem, 13-40 cm tall.
Basal, evergreen, leathery, round to elliptic or egg-shaped, the blades 2-8 cm long, nearly as wide, commonly heart-shaped at base to rounded or somewhat pointed, rounded to shallowly notched at tip, entire to toothed with veins projecting slightly beyond margin, dark green and shining above, usually somewhat purplish beneath, not mottled; stalks 2-9 cm long.
Inflorescence a (5) 8- to 25-flowered, elongate, terminal raceme, the flowers 10-15 mm wide, weakly bilaterally symmetric, open; flower stalks 3-8 mm long, usually shorter than the linear-lanceolate, dry, membranous bracts; petals pinkish to rose or purplish-red, 5-8 mm long; sepals pointed to sharp-pointed, 1.5-5 mm long; anthers pink, 2-3.5 mm long, sharp pointed at the lower end, the tubes short and the pores nearly terminal; styles declined, strongly curved, exserted, 5-8 mm long, with a collar below the stigma.
Capsules, globe-shaped, 6-8 mm wide.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist forests, thickets, meadows and heath in the lowland to subalpine zones; common throughout BC, except Queen Charlotte Islands; N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NF, and S to OR, NM, MN, and NH; Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Pyrola asarifolia

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) 0 948 2500
Slope Gradient (%) -2 15 410
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 306 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 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: AT(2), BAFA(4), BWBS(899), CDF(4), CWH(268), ESSF(615), ICH(1401), IDF(363), MH(10), MS(399), PP(9), SBPS(122), SBS(1377), SWB(111)

Ecological Indicator Information

Shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to subalpine, circumpolar forb (transcontinental in North America). Grows in boreal, temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with increasing latitude and decreases with increasing elevation. Species occurs on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils. Widespread and scattered in coniferous forests on water-shedding sites (often in alluvial forests). 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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Pyrola asarifolia subsp. bracteata (Hook.) Haber
Pyrola asarifolia var. asarifolia

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References