The Q&A Archives: Wintergreen

Question: Is Spreding Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) eatable? and is it the same thing as Mountain Tea or Teaberry?
Mountain Tea is native to W.V. and it is very good to eat or make tea but I bought some "Spreding Wintergreen" reciently when passing through N.C. that looks ans smells just like Mt. Tea but I'm not sure if it is save to eat.

Answer: Gaultheria procumbens is a native plant and has many common or familiar names including wintergreen, mountain tea and teaberry; the Native Americans used this plant and herbalists still use it today although it is most commonly considered to be an ornamental plant. This is probably the same plant, although you might want to check with a botanist with regard to the identity of the wild plant you are familiar with just to be sure. You might also want to make sure the purchased plant had not been sprayed or treated with any potentially harmful systemic chemical such as pesticide while at the nursery before eating it, however.

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