Gaultheria hispidula (Creeping Snowberry) - photos and description

Gaultheria hispidula

Gaultheria hispidula

Gaultheria hispidula

Gaultheria hispidula

Gaultheria hispidula

Gaultheria hispidula

Gaultheria hispidula

Gaultheria hispidula
Stems bristly with reddish hairs

Gaultheria hispidula
Leaf undersides and margins with a few bristly, reddish hairs

General: Prostrate plant forming matted carpets on the forest floor. When observed with a loupe, stems are bristly with reddish hairs.

Flowers: Flowers are few, single, white-coloured, have 4 petals, grow from leaf axils, drooping, bell-shaped. We measured a flower at 4 mm wide and 3 mm long.

Leaves: Leaves are glossy, dark green above, lighter below. Leaves are alternate, elliptic to rotund, with short petioles. We measured a leaf at 7 mm long by 5 mm wide. Leaf margins and undersides are bristly with red hairs. The leaves smell like spearmint when crushed, and taste like spearmint when chewed.

Height: Budd's Flora lists the length of stems to 40 cm, we measured stems to 20 cm long.

Habitat: Damp, mossy, coniferous woods in the boreal forest.

Abundance: Has been given an S4? ranking (= fairly common) by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre. We have only seen this plant in one woodland in the province; in that woodland the plant was occasional.

Origin: Native.

When and where photographed: Took the above photos June 16th, moist, mossy black spruce woods, Porcupine Provincial Forest, about 450 km northeast of our home in Regina, SK.