Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Gaultheria hispidula (L.) Muhl. ex Torr.
- Family: Heath (Ericaceae)
- Flowering: April-June
- Field Marks: This evergreen low shrub is distinguished by its creeping habit, its numerous small ovate leaves, and its solitary, axillary, 4-parted flowers.
- Habitat: Bogs, fens, coniferous forests.
- Habit: Creeping evergreen shrub from slender rhizomes.
- Stems: Creeping, scarcely woody, with bristly hairs, up to 14 inches long.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, numerous, evergreen, ovate, pointed at the tip, rounded at the short-stalked base, the edges rolled under, with bristly hairs on the lower surface, to 1/2 inch long.
- Flowers: Solitary in the axils of the leaves, drooping, bell-shaped, white, about 1/12 inch across, on recurved stalks about 1/20 inch long, closely subtended by a small pair of sepal-like bracts.
- Sepals: 4, green, united below to form a small bell, smooth or sparsely hairy.
- Petals: 4, white, united for 2/3 the length, 1/10-1/8 inch long.
- Stamens: 8.
- Pistils: Ovary half-inferior, smooth.
- Fruits: Berries bright white, 1/4-1/2 inch long, surrounded at base by the persistent sepals.
- Notes: The berry has a mild wintergreen odor when crushed.
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