Species Factsheets

Gaultheria hispidula

Creeping Snowberry

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State Status: Pennsylvania Rare (PR)
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Rare (PR)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G5 rank interpretation
State Rank: S3

Did You Know?

The berries of this species are edible and have a wintergreen flavor - some say they kind of taste like tic tacs.

Gaultheria hispidula


Creeping snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula) is a matlike, creeping, evergreen shrub. All parts of the plant have a wintergreen odor when bruised. The leaves are alternately arranged, mostly less than 1cm in length, and have scattered brownish hairs on the undersurface. The flowers are greenish/white, occur singly along the stem, and appear in spring. The fruit is white and berry-like. The species is easily recognized at any time of the year.

Rank Justification

Vulnerable in the nation or state due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.


The species grows in cool, damp or wet woods and boggy places, often being found on rotting logs, sphagnum hummocks, and other moss-covered substrates.

Survey Dates

Flowers June, fruit September


It appears to be restricted to the northern counties in Pennsylvania.



The viability of populations of Creeping Snowberry and its habitat may be enhanced by creating buffers and protecting the natural hydrology around wetlands and controlling invasive species.

Conservation Status Map


Map Legend

NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.


  • NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
  • Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
  • 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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