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Montana Field Guides

One-side Wintergreen - Orthilia secunda
Other Names:  Pyrola secunda, Ramischia secunda

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
C-value: 4

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Rhizomatous, caulescent, evergreen, herbaceous subshrub from an elongate rhizome. Stems herbaceous, to 25 cm, unbranched. Leaves alternate, sometimes appearing subopposite or pseudo-whorled, petiolate; blades to 5 cm long, widest below the midlength. Inflorescence of few to many flowers borne on a terminal, one-sided raceme, arching at anthesis, erect in fruit. Flowers hypogynous, 5-merous, nodding; calyx lobes rounded, whitish; corolla cup-shaped; petals distinct, elliptic, to 5 mm long, white to greenish tinged; stamens 10; stigma shield-shaped, 5-lobed; style straight; ovary superior. Fruit a nodding, globose, 5-chambered capsule (Stickney in Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Often included in the genus Pyrola, but distinguished by raceme one-sided (vs. cylindrical); corolla campanulate, longer than broad (vs. subglobose or short-campanulate, broader than long).

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Circumboreal; in North America, Greenland and Newfoundland to Alaska, south to New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, northern Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Historically reported in Virginia, Ohio, and Delaware; extirpated in Indiana. Isolated populations in the Sierra Madre Oriental and in the Flora Neotropica area in Jalisco, the high mountains of south-central Mexico (the Neovolcanic Belt and southern Sierra MAdre Oriental), and south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the mountains of Chiapas and western Guatemala at elevations of (1850-) 2000-4038 m.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1500

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Shaded coniferous forests; valleys to subalpine (Stickney in Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Aho, Ken Andrew. 2006. Alpine and Cliff Ecosystems in the North-Central Rocky Mountains. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 343 p.
    • Clark, D. 1991. The effect of fire on Yellowstone ecosystem seed banks. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 115 pp.
    • Conway, T.M. 1982. Response of understory vegetation to varied lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) spacing intervals in Western Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bpzeman, MT: Montana State University. 76 p.
    • Cope, M.G. 1992. Distribution, habitat selection and survival of transplanted Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus) in the Tobacco Valley, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 60 p.
    • Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 pp.
    • Dale, D. 1973. Effects of trail use under forests in the Madison Range, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 96 pp.
    • DuBois, K.L. 1979. An inventory of the avifauna in the Long Pines of Southeastern Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 113 p.
    • Fernald, M.L. 1970. Gray's manual of botany. 8th ed. Van Nostrand Company, New York.
    • Forcella, F. 1977. Flora, chorology, biomass and productivity of the Pinus albicaulis-Vaccinium scoparium association. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 99 pp.
    • Fultz, J.E. 2005. Effects of shelterwood management on flower-visiting insects and their floral resources. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 163 p.
    • Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY. 910 pp.
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
    • Martin, W.C., and C.R. Hutchins. 1980-1981. A flora of New Mexico. 2 vols. J. Cramer, in der A.R. Gantner Verlag, K.G., Vaduz, Liechtenstein. 2591 pp.
    • McCance, R.M., Jr., and J.F. Burns, eds. 1984. Ohio endangered and threatened vascular plants: Abstracts of state-listed taxa. Division Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Dept. Natural Resources, Columbus. 635 pp.
    • Plaggemeyer, J.B. 1995. Effects of overstory thinning on lodgepole pine understories. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 55 p.
    • Porsild, A.E., and W.J. Cody. 1980. Vascular plants of continental Northwest Territories, Canada. National Museum Natural Sciences, National Museums Canada, Ottawa. 667 pp.
    • Simanonok, M. 2018. Plant-pollinator network assembly after wildfire. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 123 p.
    • Simanonok, M.P. and L.A. Burkle. 2019. Nesting success of wood-cavity-nesting bees declines with increasing time since wildfire. Ecology and Evolution 9:12436-12445.
    • Weber, W.A. 1990. Colorado Flora: eastern slope. Univ. Press Colorado, Niwot. 396 pp.
    • Wood, M.A. 1981. Small mammal communities after two recent fires in Yellowstone National Park. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 58 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
One-side Wintergreen — Orthilia secunda.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from