Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Gaultheria procumbens

Eastern teaberry, Wintergreen, Checkerberry

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Gaultheria procumbens (Eastern teaberry)
Kutcher, Daniel
A low, woody ground cover, wintergreen is grown for its evergreen foliage, flowers, and berries. Two to six inch branches arise from creeping, underground stems and bear 1-2 in. long, oval, shiny, dark green leaves which turn reddish with the advent of cold weather. Small, bell-shaped, white to pink flowers hang on short stems from the leaf axils. The creeping stem of this low, evergreen shrub has upright branches with white, bell-shaped, nodding flowers, solitary or in groups of 2 or 3 in the leaf axils Aromatic red berries follow the flowers.

This leathery, semi-woody, aromatic perennial has creeping underground stems, thus forming small colonies of plants. Showy red fruits may persist through the winter. The genus was named for Dr. Gaultier, a Canadian physician of the mid-18th century. Teaberry extract is used to flavor teas, candies, medicines, and chewing gum.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf: Dark Green
Fruit: Red
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , CT , DE , GA , IL , IN , KY , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Nf. to Man., s. to New England, GA & AL mts., WI & MN
Native Habitat: Conifer or oak woods & clearings; bogs

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Very variable.
Conditions Comments: Quite tolerant of shade but grows and flowers best is sunny openings with light shade during midday.


Use Wildlife: Chipmunks, grouse, mice, birds and deer eat the leaves during winter.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds

Last Update: 2012-11-26