Pyrola asarifolia ssp asarifolia D. Windrim

Pyrola asarifolia ssp asarifolia
D. Windrim

Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
Pyrolaceae (wintergreen family)
State Protection
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Global Conservation Status Rank


Did you know?

The roots of Pink Wintergreen and other species of the genus Pyrola have symbiotic associations with soil fungi. The seeds have not been grown in artificial environments, and apparently require soils with certain fungi species present in order to germinate. "Wintergreen" refers to the evergreen basal leaves.

State Ranking Justification

There are 9 verified and 11 historical occurrences in New York.

Short-term Trends

Three new populations have been discovered in the last decade, and the other verified populations appear to be persisting.

Long-term Trends

There are at least 19 historical populations which need to be surveyed for in order to determine long-term trends in the state.

Conservation and Management


Trampling and logging are potential threats to the species at some sites in New York.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

Pink Wintergreen often occupies shaded, wet habitats within forested peatlands; management which maintains current conditions should benefit the species at such sites.



In New York, Pink Wintergreen has been found in shady habitats of northern, forested peatlands, including both rich swamps of Northern White Cedar and Black Ash and more acidic sites with black spruce and red maple (New York Natural Heritage Program 2008). Cedar swamps and other moist forests; peatlands, marl bogs, and springy places; interdunal hollows and borders of shore thickets (Voss 1996). Moist woods and bogs (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Rich, chiefly calcareous, woods and thickets; mossy woods and swamps (chiefly calcareous (Fernald 1970). Prefers a moist sandy woodland soil in a cool position with partial shade (Runesson 2005).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Black spruce-tamarack bog* (guide)
  • Hemlock-northern hardwood forest* (guide)
  • Inland poor fen (guide)
  • Northern white cedar swamp (guide)
  • Red maple-tamarack peat swamp* (guide)
  • Rich hemlock-hardwood peat swamp* (guide)
  • Spruce-fir swamp* (guide)

Associated Species

  • Acer rubrum
  • Anemone canadensis (Canada anemone)
  • Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
  • Chimaphila umbellata (pipsissewa)
  • Coptis trifolia (gold-thread)
  • Cornus canadensis (bunchberry)
  • Equisetum arvense (field horsetail, common horsetail)
  • Fraxinus nigra (black ash)
  • Gaultheria hispidula (snowberry)
  • Larix laricina (tamarack)
  • Linnaea borealis
  • Maianthemum
  • Mitella diphylla (two-leaved mitrewort, two-leaved bishop's-cap)
  • Mitella nuda (naked mitrewort, naked bishop's-cap)
  • Orthilia secunda (one-sided-wintergreen)
  • Osmunda cinnamomea
  • Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis (royal fern)
  • Picea mariana (black spruce)
  • Pilosella aurantiaca (orange hawkweed)
  • Populus balsamifera (balsam poplar)
  • Salix
  • Sphagnum
  • Thuja occidentalis (northern white cedar, arbor vitae)
  • Trientalis borealis
  • Veronica serpyllifolia


New York State Distribution

Pink Wintergreen is known from northern regions of the state, from the St. Lawrence Seaway area and Adirondacks, south to the Capital District, Syracuse, and Buffalo areas.

Global Distribution

Pink wintergreen has a circumboreal distribution. In North America it is found throughout the boreal forest zone of Canada, south in the U.S. to the mountain west, and east to the Dakotas, the upper midwest, Pennsylvania, New York, and northern New England.

Best Places to See

  • Pollys Creek (St. Lawrence County)

Identification Comments

General Description

Pink Wintergreen is a perennial wildflower species, with basal leaf rosettes growing from long, branched rhizomes. The basal leaves are evergreen, shiny, and leathery, 3 to 6 cm long, elliptical to kidney-shaped with fine teeth on the margins, and petioles longer than the blades. The bell-shaped flowers point downward, and are borne on a single, unbranched, central stalk, with 1 to 3 tiny or "scale" leaves. The sepals are triangular, longer than they are broad, and overlap slightly at their bases. The petals are pinkish, and 5-7 mm long.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

Flowering specimens are best for identification.

Similar Species

Pyrola rotundifolia has white flowers, the sepals are not overlapping at the base, and the leaf blades are rounded to nearly truncate (not cordate) at the base, often tapering onto very narrowly winged petioles. Pyrola elliptica has opaque and thin leaf blades that are usually longer than the petioles with white petals (rarely pink). Pyrola elliptica is variably and often confused with P. rotundifolia or P. asarifolia. The most reliable characteristic to distinguish P. elliptica is the bracts at the base of the pedicles which are usually less than 0.8 mm broad (rarely to 1mm) compared to P. rotundifolia/P. asarifolia which have bracts 1-3.2 mm broad.

Best Time to See

Pink Wintergreen flowers from mid-June through August.

  • Flowering

The time of year you would expect to find Pink Wintergreen flowering in New York.

Pink Wintergreen Images

Images of Similar Species


Pink Wintergreen
Pyrola asarifolia ssp. asarifolia None

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
        • Order Ericales
          • Family Pyrolaceae (wintergreen family)

Additional Common Names

  • Pink Pyrola


  • Pyrola asarifolia var. purpurea (Bunge) Fern.
  • Pyrola uliginosa Torrey & A. Gray

Additional Resources


Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Kartesz, John T. 1994. A synonomized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada and Greenland. Volume 1-Checklist. Volume 2-Thesaurus.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Reschke, Carol. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Latham, NY. 96 pp. plus xi.

Runesson, U. 2005. Herbs and Other Plant Species of the World's Boreal Forests. Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment Lakehead University. Thunder Bay, Ontario, CA. Last modified June 17, 2005. (Accessed 2005)

Voss, Edward G. 1996. Michigan Flora Part III. Dicots Concluded (Pyrolaceae - Compositae). Cranbrook Institute of Science Bulletin 61 and University of Michigan Herbarium. 622 pp.

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, New York


About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: December 29, 2008

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Pyrola asarifolia ssp. asarifolia. Available from: Accessed March 20, 2019.

Back to top