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Gaultheria hispidula (L.) Muhl. ex Bigelow

Chiogenes hispidula (L.) Torr. & A. Gray

Creeping snowberry, moxie-plum

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
Specieshispidula

About plant names...

These North American native plants are partial to swamps, marshes, and bogs in cedar and spruce forests, in shaded locations. Snowberry’s range is restricted to the northern US and Canada, though it was previously found further south.

Plants: These are dense, creeping vines rarely more than an inch in height, with flowers or berries scattered thinly, often nestled on or near sphagnum moss. Vines are woody, with scaly hairs. The vines develop new roots, producing large mats over time.

Leaves: Evergreen, alternate, entire, elliptical to nearly round. Each leaf is ¼-⁵/₁₆" (6.3-8.4 mm) × ⅛-¼" (3.2-6.3 mm) wide, with smooth edges often sprouting tiny hairs. Leaf undersides are covered with brown bristles.

Flowers: Pale, greenish-white flowers are four-parted, bell-shaped, and about ⅛" (3.2 mm) in size. They appear from May to June.

Fruits: White, egg-shaped or nearly rounded berries are about ¼" (6.3 mm) around. If you look closely, you’ll notice they are covered with thinly scattered short brown hairs. Berries appear from August to September.

Edibility: Creeping snowberry is related to wintergreen, and the leaves and fruits have a mild wintergreen flavor, used by tribes as a preserve or tea. Fruit and leaves are both edible. Berries can be eaten fresh, with cream and sugar.

Online References:

Gaultheria hispidula at the U.S. Forest Service Celebrating Wildflowers site

Gaultheria hispidula at Minnesota Wildflowers

Gaultheria hispidula on wildadirondacks.org

Gaultheria hispidula on gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org

Gaultheria hispidula on Wikipedia

Gaultheria hispidula on Plants for a Future

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

7/15/2020 · Cathance River Nature Preserve Trails, Highland Green, Topsham, ME
≈ 10 × 7" (24 × 16 cm)

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

9/4/2020 · Wilson’s Cove Trail, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, Harpswell, ME
≈ 6 × 4" (14 × 10.0 cm)

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

8/17/2020 · Otter Brook Preserve, Harpswell, ME
≈ 10 × 7" (24 × 16 cm)

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

7/15/2020 · Cathance River Nature Preserve Trails, Highland Green, Topsham, ME
≈ 10 × 7" (25 × 18 cm)

Gaultheria hispidula description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 7 Sep 2020.

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Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

8/22/2020 · Kettle Hole Bog, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson, ME
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

9/4/2020 · Wilson’s Cove Trail, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, Harpswell, ME
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

8/17/2020 · Otter Brook Preserve, Harpswell, ME
≈ 7 × 4" (16 × 11 cm)

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

7/15/2020 · Cathance River Nature Preserve Trails, Highland Green, Topsham, ME
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

8/22/2020 · Kettle Hole Bog, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson, ME
≈ 4 × 5" (10 × 13 cm)

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry, moxie-plum)

7/15/2020 · Cathance River Nature Preserve Trails, Highland Green, Topsham, ME
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Range:

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