AskDefine | Define checkerberry

Dictionary Definition

checkerberry

Noun

1 creeping shrub of eastern North America having white bell-shaped flowers followed by spicy red berrylike fruit and shiny aromatic leaves that yield wintergreen oil [syn: teaberry, wintergreen, mountain tea, groundberry, ground-berry, creeping wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens]
2 spicy red berrylike fruit; source of wintergreen oil [syn: wintergreen, boxberry, teaberry, spiceberry]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. An alternative name for the teaberry.

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Gaultheria procumbens (Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry or American Wintergreen) is a species of Gaultheria native to northeastern North America from Newfoundland west to southeastern Manitoba, and south to Alabama.
It is a small low-growing shrub, typically reaching 10–15 cm tall. The leaves are evergreen, elliptic to ovate, 2–5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, with a distinct oil of wintergreen scent. The flowers are bell-shaped, 5 mm long, white, borne solitary or in short racemes. The fruit is an edible bright red berry 6–9 mm diameter.
It is endangered in parts of its native range. It is most common in acid soil.
Its leaves and branches also make a fine tea, through normal drying and infusion process. In order for the leaves to produce more than a whiff of the methyl salicylate, they need to be fermented in warm water for several days before drinking.
Teaberry is also an ice cream flavor in regions where the plant grows. It also inspired the name of Clark's Teaberry chewing gum.

Common names

This plant is also known as partridge berry, although that name more often refers to the ground cover Mitchella repens.
checkerberry in German: Wintergrünstrauch
checkerberry in Danish: Nedliggende Bjergte
checkerberry in Spanish: Gaultheria procumbens
checkerberry in French: Gaulthérie couchée
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