En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 26, 2010

From: Waynesboro, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Source for wintergreen to make tea in Waynesboro GA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to know where to buy a wintergreen tree to make tea from. Thanks. I live in Waynesboro,GA.

ANSWER:

From this article by Arthur Lee Jacobsen Plant of the Month  we extracted this information:

"Several genera contain species known as wintergreen: Chimaphila, Gaultheria, Polygala, Pyrola and Trientalis.  Nonetheless, the plant most frequently called wintergreen in horticulture and in herbal medicine circles is Gaultheria procumbens."

So, we went to the webpage in our Native Plant Database on  Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry). It's a neat little plant, but it's not a tree. So, we Googled again on "wintergreen tree" and even looked at the page of images in Google-they were all either nurseries named "Wintergreen" or evergreen trees, mostly junipers, with trade names of "Wintergreen." Those didn't sound much like tea ingredients to us, so we tried Googling on "Wintergreen Tea" and immediately discovered that the native plant Eastern Teaberry is the right one, but still not a tree. See this website, Winter Musings Wonderful Wintergreen.

Having established that Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry) was indeed what we were looking for, we started looking for where it grew. This USDA Plant Profile shows it growing in two counties in the northeastern counties of Georgia, not far from Burke County, in central east Georgia. 

This website from Fine Gardening, shows it hardy to Zone 8, and says it does better in areas with cool summers, in shade to part shade and in acidic soils. You are in Zone 8a, and should have the needed acidic soils. As for where to buy it, some of the websites we have directed you to will have information on nurseries who stock it. You can go to our National Suppliers Directory, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get lists of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape consultants in your general area. They all have contact information and should be able to help you. You may discover you need to look farther north for sources, as it seems to be more commonly grown in colder areas in the northeast. 

From Our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Gaultheria procumbens

Gaultheria procumbens

Gaultheria procumbens

Gaultheria procumbens

 

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Adding Wildflowers to Corpus Christi
May 20, 2012 - I have a dry sandy yard, full sun in Corpus Christi with lot's of stickers mostly, want to transform to wildflowers. When should I plant, how should I prepare soil, should I dig out stickers? Which w...
view the full question and answer

Red bluebonnets in the garden
March 11, 2010 - I bought 6 blue bonnet plants at Lowe's last fall. They survived the winter in my garden fine and they are now blooming (3/11)but they are red! Did I buy a wrong variety or is there something about...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a source for native Texas plums
October 03, 2010 - Please provide a source for native Texas plums--I want to plant some in the Texas Hill Country.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of skunk cabbage
December 18, 2003 - Where can I purchase root stock for a start of skunk cabbage to plant? in my wetland?
view the full question and answer

How can I propagate wax myrtle by soft-wood or semi-hardwood cuttings?
February 24, 2009 - Mr. Smartypants, I would like to propagate wax myrtle from mature plants I have growing in my yard here in Houston. I've read on the wildflower website to use "softwood" or "semi-hardwood" c...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center