wintergreen


wintergreen
/win"teuhr green'/, n.
1. Also called checkerberry. a small, creeping, evergreen shrub, Gaultheria procumbens, of the heath family, common in eastern North America, having white, nodding, bell-shaped flowers, a bright-red, berrylike fruit, and aromatic leaves that yield a volatile oil.
2. the oil of this shrub; wintergreen oil; methyl salicylate.
3. the flavor of oil of wintergreen or something flavored with it.
4. any of various other plants of the same genus.
5. any of various small evergreen herbs of the genera Pyrola and Chimaphila.
[1540-50; trans. of D wintergroen or G Wintergrün]

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Any of several evergreen plants in the heath order (Ericales).

They grow as woodland wildflowers and are cultivated as garden ground cover. They are also grown as a source of oil of wintergreen, a volatile, pungent oil used to flavour candies and chewing gum and to soothe muscular aches. Wintergreen is an alternative common name for several woodland herbs: those of the genus Pyrola (shinleaf), comprising about 12 species of creeping perennials, and Gaultheria procumbens (also called teaberry and checkerberry; See also snowberry), with white flowers and spicy red berries.

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

Roger and Joy Spurr
Bruce Coleman Inc./EB Inc.

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plant
 any of several evergreen plants, within the heath order (Ericales).

      The genus Pyrola includes some 12 species, commonly called shinleaf, native to the North Temperate Zone. They are creeping perennials with leaves that usually grow in a rosette at the base of the stem. Several to numerous flowers are borne in a terminal spike. The calyx (sepals, collectively) is 5-lobed; there are 5 petals and 10 stamens. P. minor has pinkish globular flowers growing in a dense cluster. The pinkish globular flowers of P. media grow in a rather elongated cylindrical cluster. The flowers of P. rotundifolia are white, with widely spread petals.

      Gaultheria procumbens, also called teaberry and checkerberry, has many short, erect branches with short-stalked, thick, shining tooth-edged leaves in the upper part. Flowers hang singly from the leaf axils and have a pale pink, waxy-looking, urn-shaped corolla. The bright red berrylike fruits, called deerberries, consist of the much-enlarged fleshy calyx, which surrounds the small, many-seeded capsule. The plant is a native of shady woods on sandy soil, particularly in the mountainous areas of the northern United States and southern Canada; it is hardy in England. The leaves, sharply astringent and having a peculiar aromatic smell and taste, yield the pungent oil of wintergreen, a volatile oil used as a flavouring for candies and chewing gum and in the treatment of muscular aches and pains. The active ingredient, methyl salicylate, is also synthesized and sold as oil of wintergreen. Mountain tea, an infusion of wintergreen leaves, has been used in some parts of North America as a beverage.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • wintergreen — [ wintɛrgrin; wintɶrgrin ] n. m. • 1843; mot angl. « gaulthérie » ♦ Essence de wintergreen : huile essentielle, extraite des feuilles de gaulthérie ou de l écorce de bouleau, employée en parfumerie. ● wintergreen nom masculin (anglais wintergreen …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Wintergreen — Win ter*green , n. (Bot.) A plant which keeps its leaves green through the winter. [1913 Webster] Note: In England, the name wintergreen is applied to the species of {Pyrola} which in America are called {English wintergreen}, and {shin leaf} (see …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Wintergreen — is a group of plants. Wintergreen once commonly referred to plants that continue photosynthesis (remain green) throughout the winter. The term evergreen is now more commonly used for this characteristic.Some species of the shrub genus Gaultheria… …   Wikipedia

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  • wintergreen — [win′tərgrēn΄] n. [based on Ger wintergrün, Du wintergroen: so named because evergreen ] ☆ 1. a) any of several gaultherias; esp., a creeping subshrub (Gaultheria procumbens) having small, rounded evergreen leaves, bell shaped, white flowers, and …   English World dictionary

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