Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Pipsissewa, Prince's Pine, Ground Holly
Chimaphila umbellata

Family: Pyrolaceae
Genus: Chimaphila (ky-MAF-ih-luh) (Info)
Species: umbellata (um-bell-AY-tuh) (Info)

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By kennedyh
Thumbnail #1 of Chimaphila umbellata by kennedyh

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Thumbnail #3 of Chimaphila umbellata by Toxicodendron

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Thumbnail #6 of Chimaphila umbellata by kennedyh


1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kayaker On Jan 24, 2005, kayaker from Milton, VT (Zone 4a) wrote:

Medicinal Uses:
Pipsissewa was much used by many tribes of native North American Indians to induce sweating and treat fevers, including typhus. The plant contains hydroquinones which have a pronounced disinfectant effect within the urinary tract and modern day herbalism mainly employs the plant to treat urinary problems such as cystitis and urethritis.
The whole plant is antibacterial, and has agents that induce urination, cause tissue to contract, induce sweating, cause reddening or irritation when applied to the skin, that act as a stimulant and tonic, and that gradually restore health. A tea is used in the treatment of various problems related to the urinary system, it is also prescribed for more serious conditions such as kidney stones and gonorrhea. A decoction is very efficacious in the treatment of skin diseases. Used externally, the fresh leaves are rubefacient and internally they are of great use in cardiac and kidney diseases, chronic rheumatism and scrofula. Only the leaves are officinal, though the whole plant is often used.
The plant is loaded with the biologically active compounds arbutin, sitosterol and ursolic acid. Arbutin hydrolyzes to the toxic urinary antiseptic hydroquinone. The plant contains glycosides and an essential oil that are used as an astringent and tonic. The plant is harvested when in flower, and the leaves on their own can be harvested during the growing season. They are dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of inflammations of the urinary system.

Do not use without further knowledge...


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Valley Lee, Maryland
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts
Saint Helen, Michigan
West Branch, Michigan
Statesville, North Carolina

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