Gaultheria mucronata

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Gaultheria mucronata
Pernettya mucronata.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaultheria
Species: Gaultheria mucronata
Binomial name
Gaultheria mucronata
(L.f.) Hook. & Arn.

Gaultheria mucronata, known as prickly heath[1] and in Chilean Spanish as chaura,[citation needed] syn. Pernettya mucronata, is a species of flowering plant in the family Ericaceae, native to southern Argentina and Chile.[2]


It is a compact, bushy, evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves and solitary white flowers in spring, followed in autumn by showy globose berries up to 1.5 cm in diameter, in shades from deep plum purple through pink to pure white. It is dioecious, meaning that both male and female plants must be grown together in order to produce fruit. It prefers moist, shaded conditions.

Its fruits are edible when ripe, they are sweet and juicy but somewhat tasteless, hence useful as survival food. In volcanic areas of southern Chile Gaultheria mucronata is one of the dominant plant species above the tree line.


Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-

  • 'Bell's Seedling'[3] (deep red fruit)
  • 'Crimsonia'[4] (large crimson fruits)
  • 'Mulberry Wine'[5] (purple fruit)


  1. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  2. ^ U.S. Department of Agriculture (2008) Gaultheria mucronata
  3. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Gaultheria mucronata 'Bell's Seedling'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Gaultheria mucronata 'Crimsonia'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Gaultheria mucronata 'Mulberry Wine'". Retrieved 20 June 2013. 

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