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Gaultheria hispidula - (L.)Muhl. ex Bigelow.

Common Name Creeping Snowberry
Family Ericaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Coniferous forests and mountains in the alpine and sub-alpine zones[62]. Cold wet woods and bogs[235].
Range Northern N. America.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade
Gaultheria hispidula Creeping Snowberry


USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 2: 704.
Gaultheria hispidula Creeping Snowberry
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Colocho

 

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Summary

Gaultheria hispidula, is an evergreen fast-growing, prostrate shrub commonly known as the creeping snowberry. A useful fast growing ground cover plant for shady positions. The fruit is pleasantly acid and refreshing, with a delicate flavour of wintergreen. An agreeable sub-acid taste, similar to G. shallon. They can be made into delicious preserves. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter. Both the fruit and leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves are used to make a tea. A mild flavour of wintergreen. Said to be superior to china tea.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Gaultheria hispidula is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Chiogenes hispidula. Vaccinium hispidulum.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves
Edible Uses: Tea

Fruit - raw or cooked. Pleasantly acid and refreshing[3, 101], with a delicate flavour of wintergreen[183]. An agreeable sub-acid taste, similar to G. shallon[2, 11]. They can be made into delicious preserves[183]. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter[200]. Leaves - raw or cooked[207]. The leaves are used to make a tea[2, 95, 161, 257]. A mild flavour of wintergreen[183]. Said to be superior to china tea[207].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Cancer  Cytostatic  Miscellany

The plant is said to remove the cancerous taint from the body[4]. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a tonic for a person who has overeaten[257].

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Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

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Other Uses

Miscellany

A useful fast growing ground cover plant for shady positions.

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground cover

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade[11]. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil[11]. The fruit is sometimes sold in local markets[61]. A fast growing plant[200]. The plant can make a good nesting place for mice, these mice then eat the bark of the stems in winter causing die-back. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Gaultheria japonica bears a close resemblance to G. hispidula (L.) Bigelow of N. America and sometimes treated as a variety or subspecies of the latter. G. japonica, however, has calyx much longer than the bracteoles, ovate and acute calyx lobes, and shorter anther projections. In G. hispidula the calyx is as long as or slightly longer than the bracteoles, the calyx lobes are broadly ovate and obtuse or subacute, and the anthers have distinct projections. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. An evergreen. A clumping mat former. Forming a dense prostrate carpet spreading indefinitely [1-2]. The root pattern is flat with shallow roots forming a plate near the soil surface [1-2]. The root pattern is stoloniferous rooting from creeping stems above the ground [1-2].

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Propagation

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 - 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist[78]. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 - 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of[K]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter[K]. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years[11]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 - 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring[78]. A good percentage usually take. Division in spring just before new growth begins[200]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Layering.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Birchberry, moxie-plum.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Asia, Canada, Japan, North America, USA,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Gaultheria adenothrix Shrub0.3 8-11  LMFSM304
Gaultheria antipodaSnowberryShrub1.2 8-11  LMFSM20 
Gaultheria appressaWhite WaxberryShrub2.0 -  LMSNM20 
Gaultheria cumingiana Shrub3.0 9-11  LMSM22 
Gaultheria depressaMountain SnowberryShrub0.1 8-11  LMSNM20 
Gaultheria fragrantissimaFragrant WintergreenShrub1.0 8-11  LMFSM22 
Gaultheria griffithianum Shrub1.8 -  LMSNM20 
Gaultheria hispidaSnowberryShrub0.9 8-11  LMSM21 
Gaultheria humifusaAlpine Wintergreen, Alpine spicywintergreenShrub0.1 6-9  LMSNM403
Gaultheria insana Shrub0.5 5-9  LMHSNM11 
Gaultheria japonicaCreeping SnowberryShrub0.1 5-9 FLMSMWe413
Gaultheria macrostigma Shrub0.5 7-10  LMSM20 
Gaultheria mucronataPrickly heathShrub1.5 5-9  LMSNM403
Gaultheria myrsinoides Shrub0.2 8-11  LMSNM20 
Gaultheria nummularioides Shrub0.1 8-11  LMSNM20 
Gaultheria ovatifoliaMountain Checkerberry, Western teaberryShrub0.2 5-9  LMFSM303
Gaultheria procumbensCheckerberry, Eastern teaberry, Teaberry, Creeping WintergreenShrub0.2 3-6 MLMFSDM434
Gaultheria pumila Shrub0.1 6-9 SLMSNM20 
Gaultheria pumila leucocarpa Shrub0.2 6-9  LMSNM20 
Gaultheria pyroliifolia Shrub0.2 5-9 SLMFSM20 
Gaultheria pyroloides Shrub0.3 5-9  LMSM30 
Gaultheria rigida Shrub0.0 -  LMFSM10 
Gaultheria sclelophylla Shrub0.0 -  LMFSM20 
Gaultheria shallonShallon, SalalShrub1.2 8-11 MLMFSNDM523
Gaultheria trichophylla Shrub0.1 7-10  LMSNM20 
Gaultheria x wisleyensis Shrub1.0 5-9  LMFSM20 

 

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(L.)Muhl. ex Bigelow.

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