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Gaultheria hispidula - (L.)Muhl. ex Bigelow.                
                 
Common Name Creeping Snowberry
Family Ericaceae
Synonyms Chiogenes hispidula. Vaccinium hispidulum.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Coniferous forests and mountains in the alpine and sub-alpine zones[62]. Cold wet woods and bogs[235].
Range Northern N. America.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Gaultheria hispidula is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

USDA hardiness zone : 5-9


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist or wet soil.

Gaultheria hispidula Creeping Snowberry


USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 2: 704.
Gaultheria hispidula Creeping Snowberry
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Colocho
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit - raw or cooked. Pleasantly acid and refreshing[3, 101], with a delicate flavour of wintergreen[183]. An agreeable sub-acid taste, similar to G. shallon[2, 11]. They can be made into delicious preserves[183]. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter[200]. Leaves - raw or cooked[207]. The leaves are used to make a tea[2, 95, 161, 257]. A mild flavour of wintergreen[183]. Said to be superior to china tea[207].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Cancer;  Cytostatic;  Miscellany.

The plant is said to remove the cancerous taint from the body[4]. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a tonic for a person who has overeaten[257].
Other Uses
Miscellany.

A useful fast growing ground cover plant for shady positions.
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade[11]. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil[11]. The fruit is sometimes sold in local markets[61]. A fast growing plant[200]. The plant can make a good nesting place for mice, these mice then eat the bark of the stems in winter causing die-back. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Gaultheria japonica bears a close resemblance to G. hispidula (L.) Bigelow of N. America and sometimes treated as a variety or subspecies of the latter. G. japonica, however, has calyx much longer than the bracteoles, ovate and acute calyx lobes, and shorter anther projections. In G. hispidula the calyx is as long as or slightly longer than the bracteoles, the calyx lobes are broadly ovate and obtuse or subacute, and the anthers have distinct projections.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 - 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist[78]. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 - 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of[K]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter[K]. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years[11]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 - 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring[78]. A good percentage usually take. Division in spring just before new growth begins[200]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Layering.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(L.)Muhl. ex Bigelow.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
11200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[3]Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit.
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[62]Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.
Very readable.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[95]Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada.
Useful wild plants of America. A pocket guide.
[101]Turner. N. J. and Szczawinski. A. Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada.
A very readable guide to some wild foods of Canada.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[207]Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers.
A nice read, lots of information on plant uses.
[235]Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
 
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