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

Pyrola chlorantha Sw.
green wintergreen (greenflowered wintergreen; greenish wintergreen)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)
(Previously in Pyrolaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #17021)

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Distribution of Pyrola chlorantha
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a slender rhizome; flowering stems 9-25 cm tall, single, with 1 to several leaves at the base or sometimes naked; sterile shoots leafy.
Basal, evergreen, somewhat leathery, more or less elliptic to oblong-egg-shaped or circular, the blades 1-3.5 cm long, finely toothed, pale green above, deep green below; stalks usually longer than blades.
Inflorescence a (1) 2- to 8- (10) flowered terminal raceme, the flowers 9-13 mm wide, weakly bilaterally symmetric, open; flower stalks 3-8 mm long; bracts linear-lanceolate, usually shorter than stalks; petals pale yellowish to greenish-white, 5-6 mm long, converging; sepals triangular egg-shaped, less than 2 mm long, wider than long, tips blunt; anthers 2-4 mm long, the pore-tubes conspicuous; styles declined, curved, exserted, 4-7 mm long, with a distinct collar below the lobed stigma.
Capsules, depressed globe-shaped, to 5 mm wide.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist forests in the montane zone; common to frequent throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, infrequent westward; circumboreal, N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NF, and S to CA, AZ, SD, and PA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Pyrola chlorantha

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 1026 2500
Slope Gradient (%) 0 17 220
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 237 360
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: BAFA(3), BWBS(249), CWH(41), ESSF(250), ICH(775), IDF(270), MS(430), PP(4), SBPS(158), SBS(711), SWB(16)

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. 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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Pyrola chlorantha var. convoluta (W. Bart.) Fern.
Pyrola chlorantha var. paucifolia Fern.
Pyrola chlorantha var. revoluta Jennings
Pyrola convoluta W. Bart.
Pyrola oxypetala Austin ex A. Gray
Pyrola virens Schreb.
Pyrola virens var. convoluta (W. Bart.) Fern.
Pyrola virens var. saximontana Fern.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References