PIPSISSEWA PRINCE'S PINE
(Chimaphila umbellata) Wintergreen family
Flowers - Flesh-colored, or pinkish, fragrant, waxy, usually with
deep pink ring around center, and the anthers colored; about 1/2
in. across; several flowers in loose, terminal cluster. Calyx
5-cleft; corolla of 5 concave, rounded, spreading petals; 10
filaments hairy style short, conical, with a round
stigma. Stem: Trailing far along ground, creeping, or partly
subterranean, sending up sterile and flowering branches 3 to 10
in. high. Leaves: Opposite or in whorls, evergreen, bright,
shining, spatulate to lance-shaped, sharply saw-edged.
Preferred Habitat - Dry woods, sandy leaf-mould.
Flowering Season - June-August.
Distribution - British Possessions and the United States north of
Georgia from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Also Mexico, Europe,
A lover of winter indeed (cheima = winter and phileo = to love)
is the prince's pine, whose beautiful dark leaves keep their
color and gloss in spite of snow and intense cold. A few yards of
the trailing stem, easily ripped from the light soil of its
woodland home, make a charming indoor decoration, especially when
the little brown seed-cases remain. Few flowers are more
suggestive of the woods than these shy, dainty, deliciously
fragrant little blossoms.
The SPOTTED WINTERGREEN, or PIPSISSEWA (C. maculata), closely
resembles the prince's pine, except that its slightly larger
white or pinkish flowers lack the deep pink ring; and the
lance-shaped leaves, with rather distant saw-teeth, are
beautifully mottled with white along the veins. When we see
short-lipped bees and flies about these flowers, we may be sure
their pollen-covered mouths come in contact with the moist stigma
on the summit of the little top-shaped style, and so effect
WILD HONEYSUCKLE; PINK, PURPLE, or WILD AZALEA; PINXTER-FLOWER
(Azalea nudiflora) Heath family
Flowers - Crimson pink, purplish or rose pink, to nearly white, 1
1/2 to 2 in. across, faintly fragrant, clustered, opening before
or with the leaves, and developed from cone-like, scaly brown
buds. Calyx minute, 5-parted; corolla funnel-shaped, the tube
narrow, hairy, with 5 regular, spreading lobes; 5 long red
stamens; 1 pistil, declined, protruding. Stem: Shrubby, usually
simple below, but branching above, 2 to 6 ft. high. Leaves:
Usually clustered, deciduous, oblong, acute at both ends, hairy
Preferred Habitat - Moist, rocky woods, or dry woods and
Flowering Season - April-May.
Distribution - Maine to Illinois, and southward to the Gulf.
Woods and hillsides are glowing with fragrant, rosy masses of
this lovely azalea, the Pinxter-bloem or Whitsunday flower of the
Dutch colonists, long before the seventh Sunday after Easter.
Among our earliest exports, this hardy shrub, the swamp azalea,
and the superb flame-colored species of the Alleghanies, were
sent early in the eighteenth century to the old country, and
there crossed with A. Pontica of southern Europe by the Belgian
horticulturalists, to whom we owe the Ghent azaleas, the final
triumphs of the hybridizer, that glorify the shrubberies on our
own lawns to-day. The azalea became the national flower of
Flanders. These hardy species lose their leaves in winter,
whereas the hothouse varieties of A. Indica, a native of China
and Japan, have thickish leaves, almost if not quite evergreen. A
few of the latter stand our northern winters, especially the pure
white variety now quite commonly planted in cemetery lots. In
that delightfully enthusiastic little book, "The Garden's Story,"
Mr. Ellwanger says of the Ghent azalea "In it I find a charm
presented by no other flower. Its soft tints of buff, sulphur,
and primrose; its dazzling shades of apricot, salmon, orange, and
vermilion are always a fresh revelation of color. They have no
parallel among flowers, and exist only in opals, sunset skies,
and the flush of autumn woods." Certainly American
horticulturists were not clever in allowing the industry of
raising these plants from our native stock to thrive on foreign
Naturally the azalea's protruding style forms the most convenient
alighting place for the female bee, its chief friend; and there
she leaves a few grains of pollen, brought on her hairy underside
from another flower, before again dusting herself there as she
crawls over the pretty colored anthers on her way to the nectary.
Honey produced from azaleas by the hive bee is in bad repute. All
too soon after fertilization the now useless corolla slides along
to the tip of the pistil, where it swings a while before dropping
Our beautiful wild honeysuckle, called naked (nudiflora), because
very often the flowers appear before the leaves, has a peculiar
Japanese grace on that account. Every farmer's boy's mouth waters
at sight of the cool, juicy May-apple, the extraordinary pulpy
growth on this plant and the swamp pink. This excrescence seems
to have no other use than that of a gratuitous, harmless gift to
the thirsty child, from whom it exacts no reward of carrying
seeds to plant distant colonies, as the mandrake's yellow,
tomato-like May-apple does. But let him beware, as he is likely
to, of the similar looking, but hollow, stringy apples growing on
the bushy Andromeda, which turn black with age.
>From Maine to Florida and westward to Texas, chiefly near the
coast, in low, wet places only need we look for the SWAMP PINK or
HONEYSUCKLE, WHITE or CLAMMY AZALEA (A. viscosa), a more hairy
species than the Pinxter-flower, with a very sticky, glandular
corolla tube, and deliciously fragrant blossoms, by no means
invariably white. John Burroughs is not the only one who has
passed "several patches of swamp honeysuckles, red with blossoms"
("Wake-Robin"). But as this species does not bloom until June and
July, when the sun quickly bleaches the delicate flowers, it is
true we most frequently find them white, merely tinged with pink.
The leaves are well developed before the blossoms appear.
Concerning azaleas' poisonous property, see the discussion under
mountain laurel that follows.
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