Fall view

Fall view
A View From Our Deck

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Prince's Pine, A New Plant For Me

The other day when I was walking out to the mailbox, I noticed a patch of greenery growing under a pine tree.  As I looked closer, I saw it was a plant I hadn't noticed before.  I don't think it was there in other years.  You would think I would have noticed if they had appeared before.




I had no idea what these plants were.  I downloaded an app called MyGardenAnswers.  It is an app where you can take a photo of a flower with your phone, submit it and supposedly the app will tell you what the plant is.  I tried it, but I got no results.  I looked online at several flower sites but I couldn't find the answer.  My next step was to post the picture on a nature facebook group I belong to.  A kind person identified it for me.  It is called Prince's Pine (Chimaphila umbellata).  He said "It's a native species of relatively high conservatism that prefers drier wooded habitats. It most likely arrived through natural dispersion or may have been present in the seed bank."  I was so excited to discover something new. They have spread quite a bit, and I am hoping they will come back every year. Wikipedia says it is a small perennial flowering plant found in dry woodlands, or sandy soils. Perennial means it should come back every year.  It has green leaves year-round, and it receives a significant portion of its nutrition from fungi in the soil. By keeping the green color,  they should be easy to keep track of.

Some Indian tribes used to boil Prince's Pine to treat tuberculosis.  It also has some antibacterial properties they used to treat infections.
  
It is also used as a flavoring in candy and soft drinks, particularly root beer.  I picked some leaves and they didn't smell like anything unless the oils need to be extracted somehow. Interesting but I won't be using it for flavor or medicinal purposes.  I will just enjoy the plants and the flowers.


The plants are spreading this summer.

I was waiting to see if the the little buds were going to bloom into a flower.  Today I went to check.  They are just starting to bloom into a small little unique flower.