Gaultheria(Wintergreen)The genus Gaultheria is a medium sized genus , containing around 180 species of woody shrubs and sub-shrubs. Gaultheria is an ericaceous plant (like the closely related azalea, rhododendron and blueberry) which means that must have well-drained, well-mulched, acidic soils and consistent moisture to truly thrive.
A handful of species are used as ornamental plants, most notably Gaultheria procumbens, which is native here in the Southeast. Gaultheria procumbens has edible leaves and berries that are the source of wintergreen flavoring. The red berries of Gaultheria procumbens persist throughout the winter and are an important food source for many animals including deer, turkeys, grouse, pheasants, chipmunks, squirrels, bears, and foxes. So if you run into any of these animals and notice that they have fresh minty breath, you know they've been eating Gaultheria.
The leaves of Gaultheria procumbens can be used to make a minty tea if first fermented in water for a few days to bring out the flavor. Native Americans used Gaultheria procumbens leaves as medicine, since they contain chemicals similar to aspirin that relieve aches and pains. When you're ready to buy gaultheria for your perennial garden, we hope you'll check out our online gaultheria for sale.
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