Herb: Mountain Checkerberry

Latin name: Gaultheria ovatifolia

Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Edible parts of Mountain Checkerberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Spicy and delicious. The fruit is up to 6mm in diameter.

Description of the plant:


15 cm
(6 inches)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Various habitats from fairly dry yellow pine forests to sub-alpine bogs.

Other uses of Mountain Checkerberry:

A useful ground cover for shady places.

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, 7cm with a heel, July/August in a shady frame. Rather slow, it usually takes 12 months for the roots to form. Division in early spring. 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 in September/October. Takes 12 months.

Cultivation of Mountain Checkerberry:

Various habitats from fairly dry yellow pine forests to sub-alpine bogs.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Gaultheria ovatifolia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.