Herb: Mountain Snowberry


Latin name: Gaultheria depressa


Synonyms: Gaultheria antipoda depressa


Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)



Edible parts of Mountain Snowberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Sweet and juicy but apt to become rather dry later in the season. The fruit is about 8 - 15mm in diameter.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
10 cm
(4 inches)

Flovering:
May to
June

Habitat of the herb:

Montane to alpine zone in open places in grassland, herbfield and boggy land up to 1800 metres, in North South and Stewart Islands from 39° southwards.

Other uses of Mountain Snowberry:

A ground-cover for areas in sun or light shade.

Propagation of the herb:

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 - 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 - 2 months at 20C, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 - 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring. A good percentage usually take. Division in spring just before new growth begins. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Layering.

Cultivation of Mountain Snowberry:

Montane to alpine zone in open places in grassland, herbfield and boggy land up to 1800 metres, in North South and Stewart Islands from 39° southwards.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Gaultheria depressa:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.