[The Genus Gaultheria East of the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]

Alpine Wintergreen, Alpine Spicy Wintergreen, Matted Wintergreen

Gaultheria humifusa

Synonyms: Gaultheria myrsinites, Vaccinium humifusum

Berries of Alpine Wintergreen, Alpine Spicy Wintergreen, Matted Wintergreen: Gaultheria humifusa (Synonyms: Gaultheria myrsinites, Vaccinium humifusum)

The photo above shows the leaves and reddish fruits of matted wintergreen. Photographed along Trail 10, just west of Cayuse Crater on the south side of Broken Top, Three Sisters Wilderness.............August 15, 1992.

Characteristics:

Also known as alpine wintergreen, matted wintergreen is a low, matted shrublet with branched trailing stems up to 20 cm long and erect, leafy stems up to 3 cm high. The stems and leaves are mostly glabrous, although some reddish hairs may be found on the stems. The leaves have short petioles and are elliptic to narrowly ovate in shape and measure from 1-2 cm long and 0.5-1.5 cm with entire to minutely toothed margins.

The flowers are found single in the leaf axils. The glabrous calyx is about 3 mm long while the corolla is a wide, white to pinkish bell approximately 3-4 mm long. The fruit is a bright red berry from 5-6 mm wide (See photo above.).


Habitat:

Matted wintergreen may be found on open, moist ground at and above timberline in the mountains.


Range:

Matted wintergreen may be found from British Columbia south through the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington to northern California and east to the Rocky Mts. from Alberta to Colorado.


Flower and leaves of Alpine Wintergreen, Alpine Spicy Wintergreen, Matted Wintergreen: Gaultheria humifusa (Synonyms: Gaultheria myrsinites, Vaccinium humifusum) - Flower and leaves of Alpine Wintergreen, Alpine Spicy Wintergreen, Matted Wintergreen: Gaultheria humifusa (Synonyms: Gaultheria myrsinites, Vaccinium humifusum) - Flower and leaf of Alpine Wintergreen, Alpine Spicy Wintergreen, Matted Wintergreen: Gaultheria humifusa (Synonyms: Gaultheria myrsinites, Vaccinium humifusum)

Matted wintergreen as seen on a moist bank above the east side of Jubilee Lake, Umatilla National Forest..............July 1, 2012.

Paul Slichter