Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Orthilia secunda - One-sided wintergreen

Family: Ericaceae (Crowberry) [E-flora]

"Orthilia secunda is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil." [PFAF]

Subtaxa Present in B.C.

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

"General: Perennial, slightly woody herb from a rhizome, often forming colonies; stems usually single, 5-20 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

Two varieties occur in BC:
1. Racemes mostly more than 10-flowered; petals greenish yellow; leaves elliptic to egg-shaped, pointed, and lustrous .......................................... var. secunda
1. Racemes usually 4- to 10-flowered; petals creamy white; leaves circular, blunt, and hardly lustrous .......... .......................................... var. obtusata Turcz." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat / Range
"Dry to mesic forests in the lowland, montane, and subalpine zones; frequent in SC BC, common elsewhere in BC; circumboreal, N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NF and S to S CA, MX, SD, OH, and VA; Eurasia." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Damp coniferous woods and on damp rock ledges[17, 200]." "Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to the Pyrenees and Asia. N. America." [PFAF]

Ecological Indicator Information

"A shade-tolerant. submontane to subalpine, circumpolar forb (transcontinental in North America). Occurs on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-poor soils within boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with increasing latitude and precipitation. Widespread in closed-canopy coniferous forests on water-shedding sites. Usually associated with Hylocomium splendens, Paxistima myrsinites, Rhytidiopsis robusta, Vaccinium alaskaense, V. membranaceum, and V. ovalifolium). An oxylophytic species characteristic of Mor humus forms." (Information applies to coastal locations only) [IPBC-E-flora]

Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Cultivation & Propagation

"Prefers a moist sandy woodland soil[111, 200] in a cool position with partial shade[1, 11, 200]. Requires a peaty or leafy but not very acid soil that remains moist in the summer[31, 187]. This is a very difficult plant to grow. It requires a mycorrhizal relationship in the soil and therefore needs to be grown initially in soil collected from around an established plant[200]. It is also very difficult from seed as well as being intolerant of root disturbance which makes division difficult[1]." [PFAF]

"Seed - the only information we have on this species is that it is difficult from seed and germinates infrequently[200]. We would suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe if this is possible. Sow it into soil collected from around an established plant, only just covering the seed, and put the pot in a shady part of a cold frame. Pot up any young seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle, once again using soil from around an established plant. Plant out into their permanent positions when the plants are large enough. You should not need to use soil from around an established plant to do this since the soil in the pot will contain the necessary micorrhiza. Division with great care in the spring[1, 111]. Pot up the divisions using some soil from around an established plant, grow on in a lightly shaded part of a greenhouse or frame and do not plant out until the plants are growing away vigorously[200]." [PFAF]



Orthilia Sp.

"1 sp. (Greek: straight spiral, from 1-sided raceme) Once placed in Pyrola.
Unabridged references: [Haber & Cruise 1974 Canad J Bot 52:877–883]" [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Orthilia secunda


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