Gaultheria procumbens L. - Wintergreen


 

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Gaultheria procumbens - (image 1 of 4)

 

Taxonomy

Family: Ericaceae

Habitat

Sandy acid soils. Also acidic peaty soils at the edge of bogs and marshes. Pine barrens

Associates

In sandy oak woods with Quercus nigra and Vaccinum angustifolum.

Distribution

 

Morphology

Low, creeping, evergreen shrub. Leaves  1-2" long, oval, slightly toothed. Flowers 5-parted, white, bell-shaped, nodding, solitary or in groups of 2 or 3, from leaf axils. Fruit a bright red, berry-like capsule, persisting into winter. Stems with the flowering branches ascending.

Notes

Flowers early July to late August

Wetland indicator: Facultative upland

The original source of wintergreen oil, the leaves emit the distinct wintergreen odor when crushed. Fruits are edible, sweet, and taste like wintergreen. Can form small vegetative colonies.

Bibliography

Niering, W. A. 1979. The Audubon society field guide to North American wildflowers: eastern region.
Knopf/Random House, New York.

 

Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.


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 Michael Hough 2004