Any of several evergreen plants in the heath order (Ericales). They grow as woodland wildflowers and are cultivated as garden ground cover. They are also grown as a source of oil of wintergreen, a volatile, pungent oil used to flavour candies and chewing gum and to soothe muscular aches. Wintergreen is an alternative common name for several woodland herbs: those of the genus Pyrola (shinleaf), comprising about 12 species of creeping perennials, and Gaultheria procumbens (also called teaberry and checkerberry; see also snowberry), with white flowers and spicy red berries.
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)—Roger and Joy Spurr/Bruce Coleman Inc.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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