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Teaberry Treats


There are many festive colored berries in the woods this time of year. My favorite is teaberry, Gaultheria procumbens, because it has wintergreen oil in its leaves and berries. Because of this, it is also known as American wintergreen. Teaberry can be used to flavor candy, medicine, tea, and wine. Teaberry chewing gum was one of the first commercial chewing gums marketed in the US in the 1900s. Some old timey general stores still carry teaberry chewing gum today.

Teaberry can be found along the edges of Marshall Pond on the Unity Mountain Trail. It is a low growing, evergreen ground cover that belongs to the heath family. The same family as rhododendron and mountain laurel. It usually has 3 or 4 leaves and berries clustered coming from a central stalk. A great way to check if this is teaberry is to pick a leave, break it up, and smell it.If it smells like wintergreen, you've found teaberry.

*Make sure not to eat any parts of plants that you cannot positively identify.

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