Largeflowered Wintergreen – Pyrola grandiflora

Alaska Wildflowers | White

The flowers of the largeflowered wintergreen (Pyrola grandiflora).

Largeflowered Wintergreen

Pyrola grandiflora

Common Names:

largeflowered wintergreen
arctic wintergreen


Pyrola borealis
Pyrola canadensis
Pyrola gormanii
Pyrola occidentalis
Pyrola grandiflora var. canadensis
Pyrola grandiflora var. gormanii



Genus: Pyrola L. (wintergreen)
Family: Pyrolaceae (Shinleaf family)
Order: Ericales
Full Classification

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb

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For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

No information directly for Pyrola grandiflora. However, the leaves of other Pyrolas (wintergreens) have been moistened to be used to counter skin irritation and have been used to treat mouth or throat inflammation.


The largeflowered wintergreen (Pyrola grandiflora) is a perennial subshrub with evergreen leaves. The wintergreen family is named such because of the evergreen leaves. Plants grow from a small rhizomatous taproot. The rounded leaves are mostly basal, and petiole on an often pinkish stem. Leaves are somewhat waxy and dark green. The stem is pink or red and 6-25 cm (2-10 in) tall. It has one inflorescence per stem with a 4-12 flowered raceme. The flowers have 5 creamy white petals with pink veins and about 10 stamens with yellow anthers and a single stigma per ovary. The fruit is pink or red when immature and black or brown when mature.

Distribution and Habitat

Pyrola grandiflora is distributed across the northern hemisphere including Canada and Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, and Eurasia (mostly Siberia and northern Scandanavia).

The largeflowered wintergreen lives in many habitats and soil types in both taiga and tundra. It grows in forests, dry or wet meadows, slopes, and ridges. It also grows in cracks in bedrock. It is most commonly found in dry soils.


RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae (Plants)
SubkingdomTracheobionta (Vascular plants)
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta (Seed plants)
DivisionMagnoliophyta (Flowering plants)
ClassMagnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
FamilyPyrolaceae (Shinleaf)
GenusPyrola L. (wintergreen)
SpeciesPyrola grandiflora (largeflowered wintergreen)

References and Further Reading

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 60

Pyrola grandiflora  Radius, ITIS Database

Pyrola grandiflora Radius largeflowered wintergreen, USDA Database

Pyrola grandiflora Radius, Pyrola & Chimaphila. 27, plate 3, fig. 2. 1821., Flora of North America (

Pyrola grandiflora : Arctic Wintergreen, Central Yukon Species Inventory Project

Pyrola grandiflora, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (

Pyrola grandiflora Radius, Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

All web sources accessed December of 2020 unless otherwise noted

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