Plant was found in back yard, wooded area. Primarily in shade under hadwood canopy; mostly oak trees. Leaves appear to have thorns, but they are not sharp. Leaves are 1 to 1.5 inches long. It has what looks like buds on it but I have never seen it flower. Low growing groundcover, but the plant does not cover a large area. This is the only plant like this im my yard. I replanted the plant in a new garden bed so ignore the purple wintercreeper in the background of some of the images.
your plant is called the spotted wintergreen, Chimaphila maculata. It is currently placed in the blueberry family, Ericaceae, but has traditionally been placed in the Pyrolaceae. This is a fairly common plant, especially in old pine plantations – it has deep roots, and can stand poor conditions as well as drought. The ‘buds’ on yours are actually the fruit. Earlier in the summer it would have had white, upside-down flowers that are somewhat showy.
These are dificult to transplant, so I hope that you have good luck with it.
I hope this helps!
Steve Hill – SCNPS
Dr. Steven R. Hill, Botanist, Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign.