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Click for Pyrola chlorantha, for Pyrola minor, and Orthilia secunda

Pyrola picta

Pyrola picta

Pyrola picta (Variegated Wintergreen)
Synonym: Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Montane. Woodlands. Summer.
Opal Lake Trail, July 10, 2010 and Roadside near Madden Peak, August 29, 2017.

Pyrola picta grows from about four-to-eight inches tall.  The plant in the photograph is about six inches tall.  Flower color varies through shades of green/yellow. 

Pyrola picta is rare in Colorado and the plants shown in the first and third photographs at left are, in fact, Archuleta County records.  The plant does occur more commonly in the other Four Corners states. 

When present, Pyrola picta is easily spotted in its normal dry Spruce forest habitat because of its striking leaves.

Pyrola picta was first collected for science by Archibald Menzies in 1792 in British Columbia, Canada.  It was named and described by James Smith in 1819.

The Latin "picta" means "painted or variegated".

Pyrola picta

Pyrola picta

Pyrola picta (Variegated Wintergreen)
Synonym: Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Montane. Woodlands. Summer.
Opal Lake Trail, July 10, 2010.

Floras commonly distinguish between Pyrola species by the shape and color of their leaves and by the shape of their style, which may be straight or curved.  Pyrola picta's style is commonly curved near its base and usually curves again in an elongated "S" shape. The styles are, or appear to be, fairly straight in freshly opened flowers. Pull the petals back and use a hand lens to see the curves. Styles of the flowers in the photograph at the top of this page (also shown at left and below) varied from nearly straight to curved. 

The styles are slightly flared just below the stigma.

                         Pyrola picta

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Pyrola picta

Range map for Pyrola picta