Gaultheria mucronata

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Gaultheria mucronata
Pernettya mucronata.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaultheria
G. mucronata
Binomial name
Gaultheria mucronata

Gaultheria mucronata (syn. Pernettya mucronata), the prickly heath,[1] is a species of flowering plant in the family Ericaceae, native to southern Argentina and Chile.[2]

In volcanic areas of southern Chile Gaultheria mucronata is one of the dominant plant species above the tree line.


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 (0.59 in) 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.


Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-[3]

  • 'Bell's Seedling'[4] (deep red fruit)
  • 'Crimsonia'[5] (large crimson fruits)
  • 'Mulberry Wine'[6] (purple fruit)
  • 'Wintertime'[7] (white fruits)


Gaultheria is named for Dr. Jean François Gaulthier (1708-56), a Swedish-Canadian botanist from Quebec.[8]

The Latin specific epithet mucronata means “prickly”, referring to the foliage.[9]


  1. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  2. ^ "Gaultheria mucronata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  3. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 39. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  4. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Gaultheria mucronata 'Bell's Seedling'". Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Gaultheria mucronata 'Crimsonia'". Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  6. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Gaultheria mucronata 'Mulberry Wine'". Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Gaultheria mucronata 'Wintertime'". RHS. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  8. ^ Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). p 175
  9. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 978-1845337315.

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