Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Gaultheria hispidula (L.) Muhl.
ERICACEAE (Heath Family)
EtymologyGaultheri a is named forJean Francios Gaulthier (c.1708-1756),a botanist and physician from Quebec; hispidula means finely bristled in Latin.
Synonyms (Common Name)Maidenhair-berry
DescriptionTiny and delicate, creeping snowberry is an evergreen, ericaceous shrub with a prostrate, trailing habit that forms dense carpets in the bog. Its leaves are aromatic with the scent of wintergreen.
Wetland indicator statusFACW
LeavesEvergreen, alternate, simple, entire, tiny (1/8-3/8"long); oval to roundish with small, pointed tip; short-stalked; shiny green and smooth above, yellow-green with brownish hairs below; smells like wintergreen when crushed.
Flower/InflorescenceWhite, tiny (less than 3/16"), bell-shaped; usually solitary in leaf axils.
Flowering PeriodMay-June
FruitBerry, tiny (1/4"), white, round, slightly bristly, topped with 4 calyx teeth; smells like wintergreen.
Fruiting PeriodAugust-September.
HabitatBogs, wooded swamps, wet -- chiefly coniferous -- woods.
RangeNewfoundland to British Columbia, south to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Idaho; in mountains to North Carolina.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett