Teaberry – March “Pinelands Plant Of The Month”

Teaberry BerriesTeaberry or Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) is very easy to find in the Pine Barrens because of its bright red berries. The berries are an especially attractive and tasty treat for animals and humans alike. Birds and deer love to eat them, and most berries will be devoured by Spring when their flavor reaches its peak. The berries and the oil of Wintergreen have historically been used in many products. Because of their sweet refreshing taste, the berries were used as flavoring for the original teaberry chewing gum. The oil of Wintergreen was also used to flavor gum, candy, bad tasting medicine and as a scent in soap and candles.The oval leaves are thick, dark green and shiny and can be boiled for a very tasty tea. The fresh leaves also have a very pleasant flavor when chewed. The plant has been used as an astringent, a stimulant, a diuretic, an anti-rheumatic and as a cure for aches and pains because it contains a chemical closely related to aspirin. Teaberry FlowerThis is truly a renaissance plant! And for our added pleasure, from June until August, the delightful creamy white, bell shaped waxy flowers can be found hanging downward beneath the leaves.