Gaultheria humifusa (Graham) Rydb.
alpine-wintergreen (alpine spicywintergreen)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Virginia Skilton     (Photo ID #4834)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Gaultheria humifusa
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Low, trailing shrub, to 3 cm tall; stems prostrate or ascending, to 10 cm long, glabrous or finely-hairy, sometimes with longer, reddish hairs, not glandular.
Alternate, evergreen, leathery, broadly egg-shaped or oval to nearly elliptic, 1-2 (2.5) cm long, 0.5-1.5 cm wide, rounded to blunt at tips, entire to inconspicuously toothed, margins thickened.
Solitary in leaf axils; flower stalks short, with 3-5 bractlets; corollas bell-shaped, 5-lobed, pinkish, 3-4 mm long; calyces glabrous, cleft to near the middle; stamens included, anthers opening by terminal pores, without awns.
Berrylike, reddish, globe-shaped, fleshy, 5-7 mm wide.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Gaultheria humifusa

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
1641 622 2500
Slope Gradient (%)
27 0 97

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

200 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

AT(2), BWBS(1), CMA(1), CWH(8), ESSF(101), ICH(6), IMA(2), MH(32), MS(5), SBS(6)

Habitat and Range

Moist to wet streambanks and meadows in the subalpine and alpine zones; infrequent in S BC; E to S AB, and S to N CA and CO.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia