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Mr. Smarty Plants - Source for wintergreen to make tea in Waynesboro GA

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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

 

 

 

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