4. Gaultheria procumbens Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 395. 1753.
Eastern teaberry, checkerberry, wintergreen
Subshrubs, creeping, not mat-forming, rhizomatous or stoloniferous; adventitious roots absent. Stems decumbent, branches ascending, 5-20 cm, lanate, glabrescent. Leaf blades (pale green abaxially, bright green, glaucous adaxially), obovate to oval or orbiculate, 1.5-4.5 cm, base cuneate to rounded, margins serrate (teeth bristle-tipped), (slightly revolute), apex acute to rounded or obtuse, rarely mucronate, surfaces sparsely hairy (hairs unbranched). Inflorescences axillary, solitary flowers or with 2-3 nodding flowers per node; bracts reddish, cordate, distinctly concave, 1-2 mm, not exceeding sepals, ciliate marginally. Pedicels pinkish, 1-3 mm, lanate; bracteoles absent. Flowers: sepals 5, connate 1/2 to nearly their entire lengths, white, cordate, 2.5-3.5 mm, ciliate marginally; petals 5, connate nearly their entire lengths, white, 8-10 mm, adaxial surface lanate-hairy, corolla urceolate, lobes 1 mm; filaments (pinkish), slightly widened proximally, lanate-tomentose; anthers with 2 apical awns (awns not bifurcating), dehiscent by subterminal pores proximal to awns. Fruits bright red to reddish violet, 6-9 mm wide. 2n = 44, 88.
Flowering Jun-Sep; fruiting Sep-Jan. Mixed woodlands, mesic forests, dry, acidic woodlands, powerline rights-of-way, roadbanks, old pastures, coniferous woodlands, maritime heathlands, montane heath balds, bogs and fens, usually in acidic and/or sandy soils; 0-1500 m; Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Ala., Conn., Del., D.C., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.
Although common or abundant in most of its range, Gaultheria procumbens has been listed as endangered in Illinois.