Wintergreen, Round-leaved subsp. maritima

Information on Round-leaved Wintergreen subsp. maritima

Common Name: Round-leaved Wintergreen subsp. maritima
Scientific Name: Pyrola rotundifolia subsp. maritima
Irish Name: Glasluibh chruinn
Family Group: Ericaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Round-leaved Wintergreen subsp. maritima is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

This is an evergreen, perennial wildflower which flowers from July to September.  It stands no more than 30cm high, bearing 5-petalled, pure white flowers (8-12mm across) in racemes on upright stems.  The spreading petals are curved which gives the corolla a cup-shape and the style in this subspecies is only slightly curved. The leaves are rounded with a tracery of veins which end at the leaf margin with a tiny point. This is a coastal subspecies of Pyrola rotundifolia (Glasluibh chruinn) which grows in the wonderful Raven Nature Reserve in Co Wexford, also to be found in counties Donegal and Sligo. It is a native plant and belongs to the family Ericaceae.

This plant was shown to me by Christopher Wilson of the Wexford Naturalists Field Club in May 2008 and I returned to photograph it later in the year.  The identification was also confirmed by Dr Colin Kelleher MSc PhD of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

The name 'Wintergreen' was a term given to plants which we would now refer to as 'evergreen', meaning that they do not shed their leaves in winter.  The oil which is obtained from the leaves is used as flavouring in chewing-gum and toothpaste.  It is also a strong-smelling ingredient in many therapeutic liniments rubbed on various parts of the body to help ease muscle and joint pain.  Take yourself to the starting-line of a marathon race and the unmistakeable aroma of wintergreen will be knee-deep! 

This species is protected under the Flora (Protection) Order, 2015 and is classed as VULNERABLE in the Red Data List of Vascular Plants 2016. 

Wintergreen, Round-leaved subsp. maritima
Wintergreen, Round-leaved subsp. maritima
Wintergreen, Round-leaved subsp. maritima
Wintergreen, Round-leaved subsp. maritima