Ericaceae - Heath or Heather Family
A ground hugging perennial creeping shrub
Creeping ground hugging
Tiny, oval, alternate leaves, which smell of wintergreen
Stems are typically unbranched and have alternating leaves along their lengths
The flowers are tiny, 4 lobed, drooping, and bell shaped
White berries appear in leaf axils, and continue through the winter
Closely related to, and often mistaken for gaultheria procumbens, wintergreen. The leaves of G. hispidula are smaller, and the berries are white rather than the pale red of those from G procumbens. The two plants are virtually interchangeable, although I like the taste of the wintergreen berry slightly more than that of the creeping snowberry
Mossy evergreen forests and bogs
Fruit, Leaves, Stem
Wild Food Uses:
The fruit can be eaten raw, or made into jams, or baked into pies and tarts. The leaves and stems can be eaten raw, although they are dry. They can also be brewed for a very good wintergreen flavored tea.
The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.
The leaves contain high amounts of Methyl Salicylate, the forerunner of modern aspirin. Leaf tea has been used to soothe colds, headaches, stomachaches, fever, kidney ailments; Externally as a wash for rheumatism, sore muscles, lumbago. The chemical Methyl Salicylate, has anti-inflammatory and pain killing properties. There have been recent studies have shown that small amounts have delayed the onset of tumors.
Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Antineoplastic, Antirheumatic, Febrifuge, Stomachic