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Chimaphila umbellata var. acuta


This is one of the strangest flowers I've ever seen and the first time I've ever seen it. The 5 petals are pink and white and it has a large green center which is waxy hard. There is a ball of liquid on the tops of these green centers which is kind of sticky. The petals are stiff, but not hard, whereas the center of the flower is hard. They hang downwards from their stems (maybe because they are kind of heavy). There were tiny dance flies feeding in these flowers (see Spotting: This is a native flower of upper elevation forest floors in mixed conifer forests.


Growing wild on the forest floor, about 5 km up Mt. Huitepec, west of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. About 2,800 meters in mixed Pine-Oak Forest.


Interestingly, the flowers and buds hang downwards, while the fruit sits bolt upright on the stem. See reference pictures.

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LaurenZarate 5 years ago

Hi Puca. What a wonderful thing that you found the flower! I am so happy to know all about it. Thank you so much. You are right, it is Chimaphila umbellata. In the wiki reference for the family Ericaceae, it says "In 2002, systematic research resulted in the inclusion of the formerly recognised families Empetraceae, Epacridaceae, Monotropaceae, Prionotaceae, and Pyrolaceae into the Ericaceae based on a combination of molecular, morphological, anatomical, and embryological data, analysed within a phylogenetic framework." ( and the genus Chimaphilia is now in the Subfamily Pyroloideae. Big Mess of a Family. Thanks so much for your help. :)

PucaK 5 years ago

The flower is very similar to that of the Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) in the United States and, almost certainly, belongs to the same family.
This flower belongs to the family Pyrolaceae (although some references state that it belongs to the family Ericaceae)

Trees and shrubs of Mexico (see lists two species, Chimaphila umbillata and C. maculata, as occurring in Mexico. C. maculata has leaves with a white stripe along the center. C. umbellata has green leaves with no white stripe. It seems that this might be C. umbellata.

LaurenZarate 5 years ago

Thank you Emilie, that sure is one bunch of odd looking flowers in that family! Some looked a little like mine, but I didn't find it yet…….

EmilieChich 5 years ago

Wonderful pictures, Lauren. For the ID, I think you should look into the Clusiaceae family.

Spotted by

Chiapas, Mexico

Spotted on Aug 20, 2015
Submitted on Mar 7, 2016

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