Shinleaf (Family Pyrolaceae)

 

Pyrolaceae was a small family of flowering plants that included the
four genera Chimaphila, Moneses, Orthilia, and Pyrola, and some-

times also the eight genera formerly usually placed in the Family

Monotropaceae. Recent genetic research by the Angiosperm Phylo-

geny Group has however demonstrated that these genera are all bet-

ter placed in the family Ericaceae. The Family Pyrolaceae members

are distinguished mainly by their herbaceous growth form, not being

woody plants like the rest of the Ericaceae.

 

Almost cosmopolitan, many well-known plants of the new, more

inclusive Family Ericaceae live in temperate climates, such as cran-

berry, blueberry, various heaths and heathers (Erica, Cassiope,

Daboecia, Calluna vulgaris etc.), huckleberry, azalea and rhodo-

dendron. However, the family also contains many tropical species

(representation mostly at high altitude), but are poorly represented

in Australasia.

 

Family Ericaceae (inclusive of Family Pyrolaceae) have edible ber-

ries from Genera Arctostaphylos, Gaylussacia, Vaccinium etc. (bear-

berry, bilberry, blueberry, whortleberry, buckleberry, cranberry etc).

Many species and genera are cultivated as ornamentals (e.g. Erica,

Rhododendron, Arbutus, Pieris). ‘Briar’ pipes are made from Erica

spp.

 

 

Back to Inventory of Herb/Forb Families and Species

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