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Mountain Tea
Latin name: Gaultheria procumbens
Member of the Heath family (Ericaceae)

Also known as Wintergreen, Checkerberry, or Teaberry, this plant has thick, shiny, oval, evergreen leaves that are sharply astringent and have a peculiar aromatic smell and taste. The bell-shaped, pale pink, waxy flowers dangle from the leaf. The bright red, berry-like fruits are very fragrant. The leaves yield the pungent oil of wintergreen, a volatile oil used as a flavoring for candies and chewing gum and in the treatment of muscular aches and pains. The active ingredient, methyl salicylate, is also synthesized and sold as oil of wintergreen. It grows to a height of 2 to 5 inches. It can be found in shady woods on sandy soil. It blooms in July and August.

Mountain Tea is common in the Clinch Mountain area and has often been used to make herbal tea.

Sources:
"A Field Guide to Wildflowers, Northeastern and North-central North America" by Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny
Encyclopaedia Britannica

Photo taken behind my house


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