The shiny leaves of wintergreen, aka teaberry or checkerberry, are a common view throughout pine barrens and in Alper Preserve.
Its short leafy shoots grow upright from underground horizontal stems—rhizomes. The nice groundcover stays green year round,
and its tenaceous, bright red, flavorful fruits last though the winter and well into the next spring, tasting their best on
a winter walk. The fruit looks like a berry, though this is actually a fleshy capsule. If you dare to munch a couple, you
will recognize the special flavor of wintergreen chewing gum. In fact wintergreen had been used for chewing gum before the
synthetic flavor was developed. Be sure to leave some for wildlife. This is a favorite of white-footed mice, chipmunks, and
grouse. Deer may also go for wintergreen. The leaves were once popular for making a tea; if you want to try, take just one
or two leaves from each upright stalk.
Flowering. July 24
October 16, Plymouth
December 11, Myles Standish SF, Plymouth
In spring the capsules often split. May 13
Fruits of previous season, June 7, Plymouth