Herb latin name: Gaultheria pumila


Synonyms: Andromeda empetrifolia, Arbutus pumila, Pernettya empetrifolia, Pernettya magellanica


Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)



Edible parts of Gaultheria pumila:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Used like huckleberries. The fruit is up to 22mm in diameter.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
5 cm
(2 inches)

Flowering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Heath, bogs, swamps, open wet places and woods to 900 metres, north to latitude 50° south in Chile.

Propagation of Gaultheria pumila:

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. "Drop" the plants 12 months earlier by digging them up and replanting them deeper in the soil so that the branches are buried and can form roots. This works best in a sandy soil. It is best to pot up the divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are established. Plant them out in the summer. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months.

Cultivation of the herb:

Heath, bogs, swamps, open wet places and woods to 900 metres, north to latitude 50° south in Chile.

Medicinal use of Gaultheria pumila:

None known

Known hazards of Gaultheria pumila:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.