unidentified plant

slow-poke(6)July 4, 2012

For several years, the attached plant (weed?) has been trying to get established in a bed of creeping Bar Harbor junipers. I have been pulling them out, but this year, as I am a little late in tending the bed, they have flowered. As the photos show, the flowers are small and white, with pale green centers and the leaves are glossy dark green. They grow about 6" tall. They are actually quite attractive except for their choice of venue. I would consider encouraging them elsewhere in the yard if they have no downside (invasive, etc.). Can anyone identify them?

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Striped Wintergreen aka Spotted Wintergreen aka Striped Pipsissewa, botanical name is Chimaphila maculata.

If you can move them to another area, I would do so, this species is listed as an endangered species in a number of states and Ontario due to habitat loss.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 2:14PM
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Thanks for that info. Not sure where it came from, as I have not noticed it anywhere else in our semi-wooded residential neighborhood. Do you know, if I do try to cultivate it, whether I will have problems containing it, since it has been trying quite persistently to naturalize where I don't want it?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 4:13PM
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Carrie B

I so wish that plant would grow in my garden. If it grew ANYWHERE in my garden, I would nurture & encourage it.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 8:43PM
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It is not aggressive at all, apparently just persistent. It's a wonderful thing.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 9:03PM
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These plants are quite appealing, however they have chosen an unfortunate venue to naturalize, at various places in an established planting of Bar Harbor junipers. Is it possible to relocate them? Can I pull them up (as in my photo) and root them in water to then replant them? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 9:54PM
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Carrie B

If you're going to transplant them, wait until cooler weather and dig up as much soil as you can with the root (as opposed to bare-root, as in the photo) and transplant immediately.

If you are willing to transplant/sacrifice some (or all) of the Junipers to give the wintergreen some space in an area they obviously do well in, I wouldn't hesitate a moment before removing Junipers.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 6:46AM
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Cannot they not exist together?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:39AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I have to join in and say, I too would love to have pipsissewa growing here. Here's the growing details on this plant from PFAF:

Requires a light moist but well-drained lime-free soil and shade from direct sunlight[1]. This species is difficult to propagate and grow in cultivation, mainly because it has certain mycorrhizal associations in the wild and these are necessary if the plant is to thrive[200]. It is best to use some soil collected from around an established plant when sowing seed or planting out into a new position[200]. The plant has wide-spreading fibrous feeding roots and will often die or fail to increase in size if these are disturbed. The flowers are deliciously scented[245]."


Here is a link that might be useful: PFAF Link

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 10:23AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I don't quite see why they can't co-exist either. What is the problem? They won't hurt the Junipers. Indeed it seems to me that if they are happy they would make a beautiful and well adapted ground cover that will require no artificial irrigation or pest control.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Thanks to all who weighed in. As I originally stated, this is an attractive, as well as persistent, plant. I was concerned about possible invasive characteristics due to my ongoing battles with poison ivy, multiflora rose, and the king of all predators, bittersweet, which in my area, southern RI, has killed countless trees, including some of mine. Although for the last several years I have pulled the naturalizing striped wintergreen from the junipers, I have decided with the advice here to just let them grow. It will be interesting to see how they develop. Again, thanks all for the help.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:31AM
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Well, here it is a year later, and I can report that despite my misguided "best" efforts to the contrary, the pipsissewa is doing well amongst the junipers. The clusters of white flowers have just recently appeared, and, now that I know that these plants are not to be feared, but rather appreciated, I'm doing just that. Thanks once more to all those who weighed in last year.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 3:56PM
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