Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Gaultheria procumbens

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) Other common names: Checkerberry, Eastern Teaberry, Teaberry

French names: Gaulthérie couchée

Family: Heath Family (Ericaceae)

Distinctive features: Sub-Shrub; Low plant, tough leaves, wintergreen smell.

Similar species:
  •   Fringed Polygala (Polygaloides paucifolia) - no wintergreen smell. See the Ontario Wildflowers website, Fringed Polygala.

Flowers: Spring, Summer;  White;  5 parts (petals);  White, hanging down under the leaves.

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Toothed;  Alternate, simple. Crowded near the top of the plant. Roundish/oblong, tough, evergreen. Aromatic.

Height: 10-15 cm (4-6 in)

Fruit/Seeds: Red berries hanging down under the leaves, stay on the plant through the winter (if no one eats them!).

Habitat: Forests;  Open forests.

Edible: Berries are edible. Leaves may be chewed for the wintergreen taste.

Books: Peterson's Field Guide to Wildflowers: 38    ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario: 253    Shrubs of Ontario: 377    Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 212   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: procumbens: with trailing prostrate stems

For more information visit: Ontario Wildflowers

Photographs: 88 photographs available, of which 5 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) leaves

A Wintergreen plant in early spring. The leaves are tough but edible if chewed well. Actually, you should just chew them for flavour, and then spit out the remnants.

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) flowers

Flowers. They hang down below the leaves.

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) plants and leaves

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) berries

The red berries. They are edible, and have a strong wintergreen flavour.

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) fruit

Closer view of a berry.

Range map for Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)