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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Ordo: Ericales

Familia: Ericaceae
Subfamilia: Pyroloideae
Genus: Pyrola
Species: P. alboreticulata – P. alpina – P. americana – P. angustifolia – P. aphilla – P. asarifolia – P. atropurpurea – P. calliantha – P. carpatica – P. chlorantha – P. chouana – P. corbierei – P. crypta – P. dahurica – P. decorata – P. dentata – P. elegantula – P. elliptica – P. faurieana – P. forrestiana – P. grandiflora – P. japonica – P. karakoramica – P. macrocalyx – P. maritima – P. markonica – P. mattfeldiana – P. media – P. minor – P. morrisonensis – P. nephrophylla – P. norvegica – P. picta – P. renifolia – P. rotundifolia – P. rugosa – P. shanxiensis – P. sororia – P. subaphilla – P. sumatrana – P. szechuanica – P. tschanbaischanica – P. xinjiangensis
Nothospecies:P. × graebneriana
Source(s) of checklist:

Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Pyrola in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 May 23. Reference page.


Pyrola L., 1753

Type species: Pyrola rotundifolia L. LT designated by Britton & Brown, Ill. Fl. N. U.S. Can., ed. 2, 2: 668 (1913)


Amelia Alef.
Braxilia Raf.
Erxlebenia Opiz ex Rydb.
Pyrola sect. Amelia (Alef.) Hook.
Pyrola sect. Euthelaia Andres
Pyrola sect. Thelaia (Alef.) Hook.
Pyrola ser. Asarifoliae Křísa
Pyrola subg. Amelia (Alef.) Andres
Pyrola subg. Eupyrola Döll
Pyrola subg. Streptylia Raf.
Pyrola subg. Thelaia (Alef.) Andres
Pyrola subg. Toxilis Raf.
Thelaia Alef.

Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species plantarum, exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas. Tomus I. Pp. [I–XII], 1–560. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae [Stockholm]. BHL Reference page. : 396.


Hassler, M. 2020. Pyrola. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2020. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2020 May 23. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Pyrola in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 May 23. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Pyrola. Published online. Accessed: May 23 2020. 2020. Pyrola. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 23 May 2020.

Vernacular names
čeština: hruštička
Deutsch: Wintergrün
English: Wintergreen
eesti: Uibuleht
suomi: Talvikit
français: Pirole
hornjoserbsce: Krušwička
日本語: イチヤクソウ属
қазақша: Алмұртшөп
한국어: 노루발속
lietuvių: Kriaušlapė
Nederlands: Wintergroen
polski: Gruszyczka
русский: Грушанка
slovenčina: hruštička
svenska: Pyrolasläktet
удмурт: Ёзвикуар
中文: 鹿蹄草属

Pyrola /ˈpɪrələ/[2] is a genus of evergreen herbaceous plants in the family Ericaceae. Under the old Cronquist system it was placed in its own family Pyrolaceae, but genetic research showed it belonged in the family Ericaceae. The species are commonly known as wintergreen, a name shared with several other related and unrelated plants (see wintergreen for details). They are native to northern temperate and Arctic regions.

They are rather small plants with a rosette of simple orbicular or ovate leaves, with a flower stem bearing generally rather lax racemes of simple white, cream or pink flowers. The immediate distinguishing feature of Pyrola species is the flower style which is often curved, sticks out beyond the petals and is expanded below the stigma which itself is branched into several lobes. To the casual observer the flower appears to have a small bell-clapper sticking out.


They are distributed across northern temperate and arctic Europe, Asia and North America. In North America they also occur down the western mountains south to California. Some populations in New England may be introductions by early European settlers.

Pyrolaceae, as part of the Ericales produce pollen in anthers which open by apical pores. The pollen itself is produced in tetrads and is rather sticky. Not surprisingly, wintergreens are insect pollinated, most commonly by flies. The rather large and complex stigma may be an adaptation to ensure that small insects carrying pollen have an attractive landing place. The flowers are produced in the summer and the rather inconspicuous greenish seed capsules are produced in the autumn. The seeds are numerous and very small.

Wintergreens prefer damp and shady locations in woods or in dune slacks. They are often rather local in distribution but can be locally common especially in their more northern locations. Occurring often separately from the leaved varieties are the achlorophyllous, leafless forms of one or more of the typed species. Leaves, if present, can be narrow and reddish. These are myco-heterotrophs and feed parasitically off of one or more of the local mycelia. Because of this parasitic action, the viability of the non-photosynthetic pyrola relies on the survival of the supporting mycelium. The pyrola group is one of a select few that can live both photosynthetically or not. This differentiation is not understood and if deciphered could explain how other obligate non-photosynthetic forest dwelling plants have crossed that evolutionary threshold.

Captain George Vancouver's (1757-1798)botanist Archibald Menzies discovered four new pyrolas near Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island, BC with delicate pink or white flowers often with evergreen leaves. From Desolation Sound by Heather Harbord 1939 ISBN 978-1-55017-407-6
Pyrola elliptica

Pyrola elliptica, commonly known as "shinleaf", contains a drug related to aspirin, and the leaves have been used to treat bruises. Its common name derives from its use in shin casting.[3]

Pirola Neck. (orth. var. 1770) Missouri Botanical Garden. 29 Jul 2013
"pyrola". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
Niering, William A.; Olmstead, Nancy C. (1985) [1979]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Knopf. p. 723. ISBN 0-394-50432-1.

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