One of the flowers that I look for each summer in our woodlands is called Spotted Wintergreen. It’s a low-growing, native perennial with evergreen leaves.
Spotted wintergreen, Chimaphila maculata, has thick, tapering evergreen leaves. Its leaves can be found all year long, sometimes hidden by the leaf litter. A pale streak runs down the middle of each leaf, which tells of its alternate name, Striped Wintergreen. New growth is light green, while that which has overwintered is a dark green.
Two or three basal leaves underlie a whorl of three pointed leaves. A reddish-purple flower stem rises from the center of the whorl of leaves and ends with one to three upside-down flowers. The nodding flowers might look like miniature street lamps, where the stem rises up and curls over to support each downward-pointing blossom. The whole plant is only 4 to 10 inches tall.
New growth comes up from underground runners and the new foliage is a much lighter green than the older leaves.
The stems are very stiff, and since the flower is so low to the ground it had to be turned sideways to see the center of the blossom.