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Wintergreen

WINTERGREEN, known botanically as Gaullheria procumbens, a member of the heath family (Ericaceae), is a small creeping, evergreen shrub with numerous short erect branches bearing in the upper part shortly-stalked oval, thick, smooth shining leaves with sharp-toothed edge. The flowers are borne singly in the leaf axels and are pendulous, with a pale pink waxylooking um-shaped corolla. The bright crimson-red subglobular, berry-like fruit consists of the much-enlarged fleshy calyx which surrounds the small thin-walled many-seeded capsule. The plant is a native of shady woods on sandy soil, especially in mountainous districts, in southern Canada and the northern United States; it is quite hardy in England. The leaves are sharply astringent and have a peculiar aromatic smell and taste due to a volatile oil known as oil of winter green, used in medicine in the treatment of muscular rheumatism (for the therapeutic action see SALICYLIC ACID) . An infusion of the leaves is used, under the name mountain or Salvador tea, in some parts of North America as a substitute for tea; and the fruits are eaten under the name of partridge or deer berries. Other names for the plant are tea-berry, checker-berry, box-berry, jersey tea, spice-berry and ground holly.

See Bentley and Trimen, Medicinal Plants, t. 164.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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