Wintergreen (also called Teaberry; Checkerberry; and Ground Holly), a low, fragrant plant of the heath family. Smooth, dark green leaves grow near the top of the stem, which reaches a height of six inches (15 cm). The flowers bloom under the leaves, and are pale, often white or pink, and waxy. In autumn, bright red berry-like fruit appears. The fruit ripens through the winter. Wintergreen grows best in sandy soils. The plants are often found clustered in woodland areas of the northern United States, southern Canada, and England.Wintergreen berries grow red in the autumn.
The leaves yield oil of wintergreen, which is sometimes used to treat muscle pain, including muscular rheumatism. Spirits of wintergreen, a mixture of the oil and alcohol, is used for flavoring. Commercial winter-green extract, however, is now distilled chiefly from the bark of the sweet birch. This extract has the composition and fragrance of true wintergreen.
Wintergreen is Gaultheria procumbens; other plants of the genus Gaultheria also yield the oil. Bitter wintergreen, Chimaphila umbellata, is a close relative. The plant called flowering wintergreen. Polygala paucifolia, is a more distant relative. Wintergreen belongs to the family Ericaceae.