The common name of pyrola picta
, white veined wintergreen, refers to the leaves, which have a thick, greenish white central vein and similarly prominent side veins. Plants are small, less than one foot tall, and inhabit shady, forested areas at low to medium elevations. Leaves are dark green, sometimes purplish underneath, and have a smooth, hairless surface. Edges are usually entire but may be lined with fine teeth. Occasionally plants have no leaves, and are thought to be partly parasitic.
Flowers are borne in small numbers towards the top of a leafless, red/brown stalk, attached by short peduncles. Flowers point downwards; they have five narrow, curving, reddish sepals and five larger petals, with rounded tips. Petal color varies from greenish white to creamy yellow to pale pink. At the center are five stamens and a protruding style.