Pyrola asarifolia ssp. asarifolia
Synonyms: Pyrola asarifolia var. asarifolia, Pyrola asarifolia var. incarnata, Pyrola asarifolia var. ovata, Pyrola asarifolia var. purpurea, Pyrola californica, Pyrola elata, Pyrola rotundifolia ssp. asarifolia, Pyrola uliginosa, Pyrola uliginosa var. gracilis
The photo above shows a close-up of the flower of pink wintergreen as seen on Mt. Adams. Note the pink corolla and bent or curved style which help identify this species.
Large pyrola is a perennial wildflower with erect flowering stems rising 15-40 cm high from a cluster of basal leaves atop widespread rhizomes. The leaf blades are round to elliptic or obovate in shape with a round to acute base and rounded to notched leaf tip. The blade is 3-8 cm long and about as wide with entire to toothed margins and a dark, shiny green on the upper blade and purplish beneath. The petioles are about as long as the blades.
The inflorescence is an elongated raceme of 10-25 flowers. The pedicels are 3-8 mm long and are subtended by linear-lanceolate bracts which are about as long. The pendant flowers are 10-15 mm wide with the petals pink to rose or a purplish-red color. The petals are 5-7 mm long. The calyx is 2.5-4 mm long with acute to acuminate lobes. The style is 5-8 mm long, strongly curved and with a collar below the stigma.
Evidently, the two former varieties of P. asarifolia to be found in the Columbia River Gorge, variety asarifolia and variety purpurea, have been merged so that the species name is indicated without the varieties.
Large pyrola may be found in moist forests.
Large pyrola may be found from Alaska south to California and east across Canada to northeastern North America.
In the Columbia River Gorge the former variety asarifolia may be found between the elevations of 2900'-3900' from near Three Corner Rock east to the high peaks to the west of the Little White Salmon River as well as the high country to the west of Mt. Defiance. The former variety purpurea may be found at lower elevations as well as high, ranging from 400'-4000' from east of Angels Rest eastward to Cook Mt. and Mt. Defiance.
Note the glossy, green basal leaves of pink wintergreen as seen on Mt. Adams. Note that the bases of the leaves range from rounded to shallowly cordate, which would probably make this ssp. asarifolia.