Pipsissewa is a Rare Evergreen

Featured Photo Credit: Patrick Alexander from Las Cruces, NM, CC0

Pipsissewa, Chimaphyla umbellata, is rare and remarkable for having leaves all year round; it is an evergreen. As a small perennial flowering plant, it is adaptable to a variety of soils and soil moisture regimes, but normally in dry woodlands or sandy soils. It is native throughout the cool temperate zone.

Quick Growing Guide

Botanical Name: Chimaphyla umbellata

Botanical Family: Ericaceae

Also Called: Prince’s pine, waxflower, common pipsissewa

En français: Chimaphile à ombelles

Blooms:

Sun / Shade:

Pollinators:

Hardiness Zones:

A full Pipsissewa plant with flower
A full Pipsissewa plant with flower

Pipsissewa is a rare shade-tolerant understorey species with horizontal rhizomes that produce erect shoots with whorled leaves. It is a fire-sensitive species that is very susceptible to damage.

When you find it in nature, it is usually an indicator of of nutrient poor soil, either sandy or rocky or both. Its growth rate is slow.

Companion plant suggestions include sugar pine.

Pipsissewa Medicinal Uses

Chimaphyla umbellata was also widely used in Indigenous botanical medicine. Bioassays show that it has antifungal and antioxidant properties. It was used by the first nations for a long list of ailments, including colds and fevers, digestive and urinary issues, and skin irritations. It was believed to be useful to treat his own heart issues. To make tea, boil its leaves. In recent times, it has been used to flavour candies and root beer.

Sources and References

Newfoundland and Labrador Flora

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