Botanical Name: Gaultheria procumbens
En Français: Gaulthérie couchée
The fragrant oil from Wintergreen’s leaves traditionally used for medicine, but munching leaves raw can cause stomach distress.
Berries are edible.
Excellent ground cover for shady areas. Woodland gardens, rock gardens, foundations or native plant areas. Plants are an interesting complement to other acid-loving shrubs such as azaleas, rhododendrons, kalmias and blueberries.
Planting and Care Considerations
Germination seeds require a period of cold-moist stratification (1-2 months).
Established plants tolerate some dry soils. Plants perform best in climates with cool summers. Space plants 10-14” apart for growth as a ground cover.
Spread: 12-18" (30-38cm)
Water: Keep soil moist throughout growth and bloom season.
Best Soil: Bright spot with well-drained soil rich in organic matter, with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
Growth Habit: Slow growing shrub
Berries are an excellent winter food for some wildlife such as pheasant, grouse, squirrels and deer. Foliage was once used to make oil of wintergreen which has astringent, stimulant and diuretic properties. Wintergreen has been a popular flavoring for chewing gum, candies and toothpaste.
Leaves were once made into poultices for arthritic pain and sore muscles. Fruits may be eaten raw or added to pastries and salads.