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Gaultheria humifusa - (Graham.)Rydb.                
                 
Common Name Alpine Wintergreen
Family Ericaceae
Synonyms G. myrsinites. Vaccinium humifusum.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist alpine and sub-alpine slopes[60].
Range Western N. America.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Gaultheria humifusa is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone 7. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


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) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Gaultheria humifusa Alpine Wintergreen


http://www.flickr.com/photos/nordique/
Gaultheria humifusa Alpine Wintergreen
Lindsey Koepke @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Ground Cover;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit - raw or cooked[183]. Aromatic and delicious[2, 62, 106] with a flavour of wintergreen. Often used in preserves[183]. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter[200]. Leaves - raw[62]. Used as a wayside nibble[85]. The young tender leaves are especially suited for use as greens[183]. They have a delicate flavour of wintergreen. A tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[62, 85, 183].
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.



None known
Other Uses
Dye.

A ground cover plant for positions in the sun or light shade. A black dye has been made from the plant[257].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a moist but not boggy humus rich soil in sun or semi-shade[11]. This species requires a lot of shade[1]. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil[11]. The plant can make a good nesting place for mice, these mice then eat the bark of the stems in winter causing die-back. Grows well in a rock garden[11]. This species is closely allied to G. ovatifolia[11]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
                                                                                 
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                                         
(Graham.)Rydb.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1160
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

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

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[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.
[60]Hitchcock. C. L. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest.
A standard flora for Western N. America with lots of information on habitat etc. Five large volumes, it is 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.
[85]Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.
A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.
[106]Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants.
Interesting reading but short on detail.
[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.
[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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