An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Wintergreen Flowering

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), also known as Checkerberry and Eastern Teaberry, is an aromatic, evergreen plant in the heath family (Ericaceae) that creeps along the ground.  This plant loves acid soil, and you can often find it growing alongside Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.).  Its single, white flowers develop into bright red berries which Ruffed Grouse consume with relish.

Not surprisingly, these berries taste like oil of wintergreen. The active ingredient in this oil is synthesized and used as a flavoring in chewing gum, toothpaste, breath fresheners, candy, and medicines, including Pepto Bismol.  This same ingredient, methyl salicate, is related to aspirin, which explains why Native Americans chewed and made a tea from the leaves and berries of Wintergreen to alleviate pain.

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.

3 responses

  1. methyl salicylate

    ________________________________

    August 7, 2019 at 8:31 am

  2. Alice

    Looks like the Bumble is enjoying the flower! Native Americans are very smart, I was watching something on Youtube about native plants & how they are used by Native Americans.

    August 7, 2019 at 9:00 am

  3. Barry Avery

    I have a big patch of it here in North Granby CT. I often stump gardening friends when I ask them if they know what it is.

    August 7, 2019 at 10:20 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s