What is the plant
Gaultheria procumbens, also called the eastern teaberry, the checkerberry, the boxberry, or the American wintergreen, is a species of Gaultheria native to northeastern North America. It is a member of the Ericaceae (heath family).
Gaultheria procumbens, commonly called wintergreen, is a rhizomatous, creeping, woody, evergreen groundcover of the heath family that is native to woodlands in Eastern North America (Newfoundland to Manitoba south to Minnesota, Tennessee, Virginia and in the mountains to Georgia and Alabama). Erect stems clad with glossy, leathery, elliptic to oblong, dark green leaves (to 2” long) rise up from the rhizomes to 3-6” tall. Plants will spread over time to form an attractive ground cover. Waxy, nodding, bell-shaped, white flowers (3/8” long) bloom from the leaf axils in early summer (June-July). Flowers give way to edible bright red berries (3/8” diameter) that persist through winter. Leaves acquire shades of purple in fall. Leaves and fruit have the aroma and taste of wintergreen. Berries are an excellent winter food for some wildlife such as pheasant, grouse, squirrels and deer.
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