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Gaultheria procumbens

Gaultheria procumbens L.

 

Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderEricalesTea, persimmon, blueberry, Brazil nut, azalea, many others
FamilyEricaceaeHeath or heather family
GenusGaultheriaAfter Jean François Gaulthier (1708-1756), French-Canadian botanist of Quebec, appointed King’s physician for Quebec in 1741
SpeciesprocumbensWith trailing, prostrate stems

About plant names...

Creeping wintergreen is a native of northeastern North America, and as far south as Alabama.

Identification: Creeping wintergreen is a low, spreading plant, typically 4-6" (10-15 cm) tall, sometimes as low as 1" (2.5 cm). Leaves are oval, evergreen, dark in color, ¾-1¾" (2-5 cm) long and ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) across. When broken, the leaves smell of wintergreen. Flowers are about ¼" (6.3 mm) long, white, urn-shaped, resembling blueberry flowers. Fruits are bright red, ¼-½" (6.3-12 mm) in diameter, and hard (like an apple). See also the similar-appearing but unrelated partridgeberry (Mitchella repens).

 

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

10/3/2010 · Tarkill Interpretive Trail, Rte 402, Poconos, Peck’s Pond, PA
≈ 4½ × 4½" (11 × 12 cm)

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

4/24/2007 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Here is a comparison of these similar species:

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Gaultheria procumbens

Mitchella repens
Common Name

Creeping Wintergreen

Partridgeberry
Plant Low, spreading plant, typically 4-6" (10-15 cm) tall, sometimes as low as 1" (2.5 cm). Low-lying vine is rarely more than 2" (5 cm) in height and up to 12" (30 cm) long.
Flowers Flowers are about ¼" (6.3 mm) long, white, urn-shaped, resembling blueberry flowers. Tubular, with four sharp-tipped petals, white or slightly pink, ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm) long and ⅜" (9.5 mm) in diameter. They appear from May to July.
Leaves Oval, evergreen, dark in color, ¾-1¾" (2-5 cm) long and ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) across. When broken, the leaves smell of wintergreen. Opposite and oval or heart-shaped, about ½" (1.3 cm) long, with a prominent light green central vein. Each leaf is dark and shiny on top, pale and yellowish below.
Fruit Fruits are bright red, round, ¼-½" (6.3-12 mm) in diameter, and hard (like an apple). One red, misshapen berry ¼-½" (6.3-12 mm) in diameter—actually two fused berries—grows for each pair of flowers.
Range/ Zones

Type Wild Wild

 

Edibility: Berries are edible, but bland, tasting only faintly of wintergreen. To prepare a tea, sterilize a jar by boiling it, as you would for preparing jams and jellies. Pack it with wintergreen leaves, fill with sterile water, and store the sealed jar in a warm spot for several days. The water will become bubbly with fermentation, which releases the wintergreen flavor. Heat the fermented beverage and dilute it to taste. This tea is the derivation of the name “teaberry,” which also served as the name for Teaberry Gum.

Online References:

Gaultheria procumbens on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Gaultheria procumbens on Earl J.S. Rook's Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky ... The Natural History of the Northwoods

Gaultheria procumbens in Paghat's Garden

Gaultheria procumbens on Wikipedia

Gaultheria procumbens on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Gaultheria procumbens at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Gaultheria procumbens on Erv Evans' site at the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Gaultheria procumbens on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Gaultheria procumbens at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

10/16/2016 · Guilder Pond, Mount Everett, Mt. Washington, MA
≈ 3 × 3" (7.6 × 7.9 cm)

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

6/7/2017 · Burns Loop Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Burns/Holland Farm, Milford, NH
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

9/18/2016 · Shore Acres Preserve

Gaultheria procumbens description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Nov 2013.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

7/3/2012 · Yellow Trail from Pearl Hill State Park to Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

7/3/2012 · Yellow Trail from Pearl Hill State Park to Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

10/11/2011 · Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

10/3/2010 · Tarkill Interpretive Trail, Rte 402, Poconos, Peck’s Pond, PA
≈ 7 × 7" (18 × 18 cm)

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

8/27/2010 · Beaver Brook Association Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 16 cm)

Gaultheria procumbens (Creeping Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, American Wintergreen)

7/3/2012 · Yellow Trail from Pearl Hill State Park to Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Range:

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