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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 8 | Ericaceae | Gaultheria

5. Gaultheria pyroloides Hooker f. & Thomson ex Miquel, Ann. Mus. Bot. Ludguno-Batavi. 1: 30. 1863.

Miquel’s spicy or Japanese wintergreen

Gaultheria miqueliana Takeda

Shrubs, erect or, rarely, creeping, not mat-forming, rhizomatous, with adventitious roots. Stems (slender to stout), 10-30 cm, glabrous. Leaf blades oval to obovate or elliptic, 1.5-3.5 cm, base cuneate to rounded, margins serrate to ± crenate (teeth usually tipped with minute, glandular bristles), apex obtuse, surfaces glabrous. Inflorescences axillary, drooping, secund racemes; peduncle reddish, 2-6 cm, sparsely hairy; bracts light green, oblanceolate, 2.5-3.5 mm, not exceeding sepals, glabrous. Pedicels green, 4-8 mm, sparsely hairy; bracteoles 1-3, pink to reddish, narrowly oblanceolate to subulate, 1-2 mm, glabrous. Flowers: sepals 5, connate ca. 1/2 their lengths, dark green, deltate, 1.5-2 mm, glabrous; petals 5, connate nearly their entire lengths, cream to light pink, 5-6 mm, glabrous, corolla urceolate, lobes 0.5 mm; filaments broadest proximally, tapering distally, minutely ciliate marginally; anthers with 2 bifurcating awns, dehiscent by subterminal pores proximal to awns. Fruits white, 6-8 mm wide.

Flowering Jun-Aug; fruiting Sep-Oct. Alpine heath and rocky soils on mountain slopes; 400-2900 m; Alaska; e Asia (Japan).

Gaultheria pyroloides is native on Honshu Island, Japan, and has been collected from a restricted location in Alaska, on the northeast corner of Kiska Island in the western Aleutians.


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