American shinleaf

Pyrola americana

Evergreen leaves in January
Overwintering leaves
New leaves and flowers
Flowering in oak leaf litter
Fruiting plant
Close up of fruits

This native evergreen forb grows beneath a thick layer of fallen black oak leaves in the upland portion of Salter Grove.  Although it is widespread in the Northeast, it is not easily or commonly seen in Rhode Island forests.  The leaves of the American shinleaf at Salter Grove have light color veins but populations growing elsewhere may have leaves that are all green.  Based on its floral structure, the American shinleaf is in the same family as the blueberry.  

Its leaves contain an aspirin-like substance and were used by the Cherokee to relieve pain from bruises and wounds.  The poultice made was called a shinplaster leading to the common name shinleaf.