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Gaultheria hispidula (Creeping snowberry)
Kutcher, Daniel

Gaultheria hispidula

Gaultheria hispidula (L.) Muhl. ex Bigelow

Creeping Snowberry, Creeping-snowberry

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Synonym(s): Chiogenes hispidula

USDA Symbol: gahi2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

A creeping, matted, delicate evergreen shrub, 6 in. high. The leafy, somewhat woody stems and underside of the leaves are covered in bristly hairs. The flowers are translucent white, shallow bells with the four petals giving an almost square shape no more than 3mm across. Flowers are followed by bright, white fruit, much larger than the flowers and tasting of wintergreen.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 6 inches tall.
Leaf: Dark Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: CT , ID , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , VT , WA , WI , WV
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Lab. to B.C., s. to NJ, WV, MI, MN & n. ID
Native Habitat: Bogs; swamps; mossy, conifer woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Cold, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: A suitable ground cover for cold, shady, acid sites.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Bog Fritillary (Boloria eunomia)

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Bog Fritillary
(Boloria eunomia)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Description: The prostrate stems are practically all rooted at intervals along their length. These natural layers can be separated in the fall and planted in peat. Always keep shaded.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
May 05, 2009
We live on a lake with gravelly and clay soils, lots of wind and little sun. I am looking for a native ground cover that will help reduce erosion over some of the steep slopes facing south (under shad...
view the full question and answer

Native plants to stop pond bank erosion
June 04, 2008
I recently purchased a home with a small pond in which a nearby stream daylights. The former owner placed large field stone around the pond and the small stream; however, the area around the pond and...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Gaultheria hispidula in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Gaultheria hispidula in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Gaultheria hispidula


Record Modified: 2023-02-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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