Spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) is in bloom right now!

Spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) is in bloom right now!

Spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) is in bloom right now! This perennial evergreen herb is a fairly common sight in the forests of southwest Virginia, although it's pretty rare in many parts of its range. Its variegated (differently colored) leaves make it fairly easy to spot. It prefers sandy, well-drained soil and it can tolerate acidic soil.

The Creek Indians referred to this plant as pipsisikweu, which translates to "breaks into small pieces." It was believed that leaves could be made into a tea that would break down kidney stones and gallstones. The crushed leaves were also used as a poultice for cuts and sores. There is evidence that the plant does have a range of antiseptic and antibacterial properties, but always exercise caution when utilizing plants you've collected from the wild! #BenInNature

This post brought to you by VMNH Corporate Supporter The Lester Group.

Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

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