Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Chimpahila maculata grows from Ontario and Quebec south through Florida and Mississippi and into Costa Rico. Another center ranges from Mexico south into Guatemala and Honduras.

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: This species is seldom seen on roadsides and forest edges, but is likely to grow in leaf and needle mulch in moist forests (Moore 1979).

Found in the Flora Neotropica area on shady slopes in Pinus, Pinus-Quercus, Pinus-Quercus-Liquidambar, Abies, Pinus-Abies, Quercus, or Quercus-bamboo forest at elevations of (500-) 1000-3400 m. Also in northern Mexico and southern Arizona, and widespread in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada.

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Spotted Wintergreen in Illinois

Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen)
(bees suck nectar; bumblebees are the primary pollinators of the flowers; observerations are from Standley et al.)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn (Std); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus bimaculatus sn fq (Std), Bombus perplexus sn fq (Std), Bombus vagans sn fq (Std)

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General Ecology

All three Chimaphila species are slow-growing and slow-propagating plants (Moore 1978). C. maculata tends to propagate from rhizomes, but is difficult from seed.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Chimaphila maculata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Chimaphila maculata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Chimpahila maculata grows from Ontario and Quebec south through Florida and Mississippi and into Costa Rica. Another center ranges from Mexico south into Guatemala and Honduras. This slow growing perennial tends to grow in undisturbed habitats in leaf and needle mulch and on decomposing logs. This species is vulnerable to soil disturbance, moderate to high intensity fires, and logging. The leaves of a related species, Chimaphila umbellata are wild-collected for commercial use; however collection pressures on Chimaphila maculata, if any, are minor.

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Threats

Comments: Chimaphila maculata requires an organic litter layer of needles or leaves and grows best in rich, undisturbed soils (Moore 1978). Therefore, any activities resulting in soil disturbance or soil compaction - even walking - can be a threat. Similarly, logging would be detrimental for this shade-loving plant.

Although its conspecific, C. umbellata, which grows in the Pacific Northwest, is collected for medicinal purposes, there is probably little commercial demand for C. maculata (pers. com. M. McGuffin, December 2000). However, some experts in the medicinal plant industry have suggested that demand has increased over the past ten years (Robbins 1999). Minor levels of collecting (permits for 100 lbs annually) have been reported in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests (pers. com. G. Kauffman, November 2000).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG

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Wikipedia

Chimaphila maculata

Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen, also called striped wintergreen, striped prince's pine or rheumatism root) is a small (10-25 cm tall), perennial evergreen herb native to eastern North America and Central America, from southern Quebec west to Illinois, and south to Florida and Panama.

Spotted wintergreen seed pod
Spotted wintergreen flower

It has dark green, variegated leaves 2-7 cm in length, and 6-26 mm in width. The variegation of the leaves arises from the distinct white veins contrasted with the dark green of the leaf. The stems emerge from creeping rhizomes. The nearly round flowers, which appear in late July to early August, are found on top of tall stalks. They are white or pinkish and are insect pollinated. The flowers mature to small (6 to 8 mm in diameter) capsules bearing the seeds of the plant, which are dispersed by the wind.

It can be found in sandy habitats, well-drained upland forests, oak-pine woods, and similar mesic habitats. It is very tolerant of acidic soil.

Conservation status[edit]

Spotted wintergreen is endangered in Canada, as there are four living populations in southern Ontario, and there is one extremely small extant population in Quebec. It is also endangered in Illinois and Maine. In New York it is considered Exploitably Vulnerable.

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