Explore Plants

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
    
 

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:

 

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Purchase source for Jamaica Sawgrass
November 09, 2008 - Any idea where to find this plant? Does the center sell them? Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense (Crantz) Kükenth. Jamaica swamp sawgrass, Jamaican Saw-grass, Saw-grass Cyperaceae (Sedge Family) ...
view the full question and answer

Search for Texas barberry (Mahonia swaseyi) for sale
September 30, 2007 - Do you know where I can purchase a Texas Barberry (Berberis swaseyi, Texas Mahonia) plant? I live in the Texas hill country. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing, evergreen, non-invasive root tree for El Dorado CA
February 20, 2011 - We need to plant a FAST-growing, non-deciduous TREE with a non-invasive root system. Where can we buy one?
view the full question and answer

Finding Viguiera dentata seeds or plants.
November 09, 2009 - I'm trying to locate seeds or plants of Viguiera Dentata, but have been unsuccessful. With the poliferation of these beautiful flowers this fall, I don't understand why I can't locate them. Do you ...
view the full question and answer

Source of seeds for helianthus salicifolius (Willowleaf sunflower)
February 27, 2008 - Where can I purchase seeds for helianthus salicifolius?
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.