But the most amazing feature of Gaultheria procumbens is the bright scarlet fruits. These 1 1/2-inch fruits arise in midsummer and continue into the following spring, creating the most unusual sight of both flowers and fruit together! And the foliage is wonderfully aromatic when crushed -- still used in wintergreen tea, it was once also made into an oil.
After spending its first year establishing itself in the garden, this 6-inch plant spreads to make a most attractive groundcover or naturalized woody plant. Native to the eastern U.S., it likes an acidic, moist, organic soil and light shade in the North, medium to heavy shade further south. The more sun it gets, the darker are its leaves. Zones 3-cooler portions of 8.