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Habitat :Chimaphila maculata is native to eastern North America and Central America, from southern Quebec west to Illinois, and south to Florida and Panama. It can be found in sandy habitats, well-drained upland forests, oak-pine woods, and similar mesic habitats. It is very tolerant of acidic soil.
Chimaphila maculata is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate.It has has dark green, variegated leaves 2-7 cm in length, and 6-26 mm in width. The variegation of the leaves arises from the distinct white veins contrasted with the dark green of the leaf. The stems emerge from creeping rhizomes. The nearly round flowers, which appear in late July to early August, are found on top of tall stalks. They are white or pinkish and are insect pollinated. The flowers mature to small (6 to 8 mm in diameter) capsules baring the seeds of the plant, which are dispersed by the wind. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The evergreen leaves have a white stripe along the central vein, giving it one of its common names, Striped Wintergreen. This is not the best common name, since it leads to confusion with Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens. Chimaphila maculata is common throughout NC. Another species, C. umbellata, has all-green leaves and is found in a few counties in the central Piedmont and northern Coastal Plain.
Requires a light moist but well-drained lime-free soil and shade from direct sunlight. 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. It is best to use some soil collected from around an established plant when sowing seed or planting out into a new position. 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. Special Features: North American native.
Seed – very difficult to germinate, see the notes in cultivation details. It is best sown on moist sphagnum peat. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division. Rather difficult because the plant is very sensitive to root disturbance. It is best attempted in the spring as the plant comes into growth. Cuttings of softwood, June in a frame. Use some soil from around an established plant.
Edible Uses: The leaves are used as a snack, being nibbled for their refreshing qualities. In Mexico the herb is used as a catalyst in the preparation of ‘tesguino’, an alcoholic beverage produced from sprouted maize.
The plant is analgesic, antibacterial, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, rubefacient, stimulant and tonic. The plant has an antiseptic influence on the urinary system and is sometimes used in the treatment of cystitis. An infusion of the plant has been drunk in the treatment of rheumatism and colds. A poultice of the root has been used to treat pain whilst the plant has also been used as a wash on ulcers, scrofula and cancers. All parts of the plant can be used, though only the leaves are officinal. The plant is loaded with the biologically active compounds arbutin, sitosterol and ursolic acid. Arbutin hydrolyzes to the toxic urinary antiseptic hydroquinone.
Pipsissewa was an important herb among Native Americans, who used it for various problems, including rheumatism. It induced sweating. The Pennsylvania Dutch used it as a tonic and diuretic for kidney complaints and rheumatism. Internally used for urinary infections, prostates, urethritis, kidney stones, arthritis and rheumatism. It is mainly used in an infusion for urinary tract problems such as cystitis and urethritis. It has also been prescribed for more serious conditions such as gonorrhea and kidney stones. By increasing urine flow, it stimulates the removal of waste products from the body and is therefore of benefit in treating rheumatism and gout. It is also a lymphatic catalyst. The fresh leaves may be applied externally to rheumatic joints or muscles, as well as to blisters, sores and swellings. In tests on animals, pipsissewa leaves appear to lower blood sugar levels. Solvent in diluted alcohol, boiling water.
The leaves and fruit have been used to increase urine flow, as a tonic, and for treating diarrhea, syphilis, nervous disorders, and ulcers. The plant has an antiseptic influence on the urinary system and is sometimes used in the treatment of cystitis. An infusion of the plant has been drunk in the treatment of rheumatism and colds. A poultice of the root has been used to treat pain while the plant has also been used as a wash on ulcers, scrofula and cancers. All parts of the plant can be used, though only the leaves are officinal.
Other Uses: The plants stoloniferous root system, and dwarf spreading habit make it a god ground cover, though it is a difficult plant to establish and grow well.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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