from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various Eurasian and North American woodland perennial herbs of the genera Moneses and Pyrola, especially P. elliptica, having a basal cluster of elliptic to oblong leaves and white to pink flowers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A plant of the genus Pyrola, properly P. elliptica: said to be so named from the use of its leaves for shinplasters.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. North American evergreen with small pinkish bell-shaped flowers and oblong leaves used formerly for shinplasters


Probably from the use of its leaves in plasters for sore legs.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • Pines raise statelier shafts and give themselves room to grow, -- gentians, shinleaf, and little grass of Parnassus in their golden checkered shadows; the meadow is white with violets and all outdoors keeps the clock.

    The Land of Little Rain


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