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

Pyrola minor L.
lesser wintergreen (snowline wintergreen)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)
(Previously in Pyrolaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25205)

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Distribution of Pyrola minor
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from slender rhizomes; flowering stems usually single, 6-25 cm tall.
Evergreen, basal, egg-shaped to elliptic or nearly circular, the blades 1-3 cm long, 1.4-2.5 cm wide, rounded to almost heart-shaped at base, blunt at tip, entire to finely round-toothed; stalks 1-3 cm long.
Inflorescence a 5- to 20-flowered, somewhat crowded terminal raceme, the flowers 5-7 mm wide, more or less closed, radially symmetric; flower stalks 2-5 mm long; petals pale pinkish to rose, oval, 3.5-5 mm long; sepals pinkish, triangular-egg-shaped, 1-3 mm long; stamens converging, but not joined; anthers about 1 mm long, egg-shaped, pointed, the pores not on tubes; filaments thin, flattened; styles straight, included, 1-2 mm long, without a collar; stigmas 5-lobed.
Capsules, depressed globe-shaped, 5-6 mm wide.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist forests in the montane zone; frequent throughout BC, except the Queen Charlotte Islands; N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NF and S to S CA, NM, MN, and MA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Pyrola minor

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) 6 1043 2190
Slope Gradient (%) 0 14 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 321 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 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: BAFA(6), BWBS(70), CWH(27), ESSF(91), ICH(23), IDF(26), MH(7), MS(34), SBPS(8), SBS(117), SWB(14)


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

Braxilia minor (L.) House
Erxlebenia minor (L.) Rydb.
Pyrola minor var. parviflora B. Boivin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References