Spotted wintergreen with flowers (Photo by Amy Wiedenfeld/NCC staff)
What does this species look like?
This low-growing evergreen plant can reach 10 to 25 centimetres high. Its blue-green toothed leaves feature a white stripe along their mid-rib. The five-petalled flowers, which arise from a stalk atop the whorl of leaves, are pink or white.
Where is this species found? Spotted wintergreen can be found in southern Ontario, the eastern U.S., most of Mexico and parts of Central America. In Canada, it is found in southern Ontario. Until recently, the species was spotted in Quebec as well, but it can no longer be found in this province. This species occurs in well-drained sandy soil and oak-pine mixed forests and woodlands.
What threats does this species face?
A threatened species, spotted wintergreen is at risk from habitat loss from development and habitat degradation from recreational activities.
What NCC is doing to protect habitat for this species
Weston Family Conservation Science Fellow Amy Wiedenfeld is trying to understand whether some of the spotted wintergreen populations in Ontario are growing or shrinking, and what environmental factors may be contributing to the population changes. This information will help the Nature Conservancy of Canada plan conservation or restoration activities to support this and other rare species.