American wintergreen

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Gaultheria procumbens L.

Common name(s): American wintergreen, wintergreen, eastern teaberry, checkerberry, boxberry, eastern spicy-wintergreen

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


-Ericaceae family

-evergreen leaves are

  • simple
  • alternate
  • entire

-fleshy fruit

-height of 2-5 inches

-leaves are berries are aromatic

-white flowers

– generally flowers in late July-August in ME


-under story of acidic forests

-disturbed sites




Natural History:

– berries are edible

-used as a cold remedy and analgesic among the Algonquin, Cherokee, Chippewa, and Iroquois

-can be made into a tea



Hansen, R.W., S.B. Hansen and E.A. Osgood. 1991. Reproductive phenologies of selected flowering plants in eastern Maine forests. ME Agric. Exp. Station Tech. Bull. 143. 17 pp.

Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.

Go Botany. “Gaultheria Procumbens L.” Gaultheria Procumbens (Eastern Spicy-Wintergreen, Wintergreen): Go Botany, 2021,

Conneticut Botanical Society. “Gaultheria Procumbens.” Conneticut Plants, Mar. 2015,