American Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
Other Names - Box Berry, Deerberry, Ground Holly, Mountain Tea, Creeping Wintergreen, Ground Tea, Partridge-Berry, Petit the du bois (Quebec, "little tea of the woods"), Redberry Wintergreen, Spice Berry, Winisibugons (Ojibwe, "dirty leaf") Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry.
Origins - N. America.
Type - Perennial (evergreen).
Hardiness (see References, below) - Zones 3 - 8.
Bloom - Spring, Summer.
Fruit - Fall, Winter.
Approx. 4 - 6 in (10 - 15 cm).
Cultivation - Likes sandy, acidic, to neutral soils, particularly in pine forests. Shade tolerant. Average water needs.
Propagation - By seeds, or rhizome division.
Other - Named after Jean-François Gaultier, Canadian botanist. Attractive creeper; variety of wildlife, such as
partridge, grouse, chipmunks, deer, and moose find its fruit and foliage irresistible.
Native Americans valued Winterberry's qualities, too. Foliage was cooked, and eaten as greens. Fermented one, was used to flavor meat dishes. It is also good brewed as tea; just as a drink, and a home made remedy for headaches, other pains, and fevers. Fruit's best harvested after frost, from Winter, till Spring; and eaten directly, or used to make preserves, pie fillings, etc.
Plant's essential oil is often used to flavor various commercial products, such as medicines, candy, chewing gum, beer, toothpastes, perfume, etc.
Caution - pure, essential oil of Gaultheria procumbens is very potent, and not suitable for internal use, it' can cause toxic reactions.
For container gardening, try Gaultheria procumbens 'Very Berry'.
Plant with other woodland style plants.
Feedback -
References - Find more about Hardiness Zones
Special Thanks
Special Thanks to Town & Country Gardens Contributors: Avian Pursuits, blogger, bulabean, dive-angel (Karin), Gärtnerin, flickr, Jasmine&Roses, Rita Crane Photography. Rita Crane, daughter of LIFE magazine photographer Ralph Crane. Her work can be seen on Flickr at Rita Crane Photography or on her website., TouchMeNever; - and her TouchMeNot etsy, TMR Davies, Wikipedia, W.D. Williams

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