The fruits are often referred to as teaberries and are edible. The taste is similar to Mentha mint species such as peppermint and spearmint. The leaves can be infused and used in herbal tea and their essential oils used as flavoring.
Quick Growing and Care Guide
Scientific Name:Gaultheria procumbens
Common Name (s): Checkerberry, Eastern teaberry, Boxberry, American wintergreen
Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 3 to 8 / H5
Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
Plant Height: 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm)
Plant Spread: 6 to 15 inches (15 to 45 cm). Spreads from rhizomes to cover larger areas.
Flower Details: Bells, White, pinkish. Small. Solitary or on racemes.
Leaf Foliages: Fragrant. Elliptic to ovate. Evergreen. leathery. Red and purple in autumn.
Fruits: Winter. Red, Scarlet. Edible (may cause discomfort in some). 0.4 inches (1 cm) diameter.
Best Light Conditions: Full and partial shade
Suitable Soil Types: Well drained. Organic
Suitable Soil pH: Acidic
Soil Soil Moisture: Medium
Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Sow using fresh seed. Take softwood cuttings. Spreads from rhizomes. Space at about 12 to 15 inches (30 to 40 cm) if using for ground cover.
Care: Prune before growth starts again following winter. Remove diseased and damaged shoots and branches, may require using a saw. Thin crowns. Supply with a mulch and feed following pruning.
Best Garden Use: Shady ground cover. Flower borders, fall and winter color, low maintenance, slopes, containers
Family: Ericaceae (heath).
Closely Related Species: Blueberry, Cranberry, Erica, Calluna.
Miscellaneous: Prefers cool summers. Attracts wildlife, especially birds. Ferment leaves for three days if producing oils. Use leaves to make herbal tea. Traditionally used as a medicinal plant.