Wintergreen is a group of plants. Wintergreen once commonly referred to
plants that continue photosynthesis(remain green) throughout the winter. The term evergreenis now more commonly used for this characteristic.
Some species of the
shrubgenus " Gaultheria" in the closely related family Ericaceaealso demonstrate this characteristic and are called wintergreens in North America, the most common generally being the Eastern Teaberry (" Gaultheria procumbens"). Several genera of herbaceousplants in the family Pyrolaceae, notably " Pyrola, Orthilia, Moneses" and " Chimaphila", demonstrate this characteristic and are also called wintergreens.
Some species of the herbaceous genus "
Trientalis" in the unrelated family Primulaceaeare known as "Chickweed Wintergreen."
Oil of wintergreen
The "Gaultheria" species share the common characteristic of producing
oil of wintergreen( methyl salicylate), which gives plants a distinctive "medicinal" smell when bruised. Some species of birchalso produce oil of wintergreen, but these deciduoustrees are not called wintergreens.
* [http://www.eherbal.org/data/wintergreen.html Wintergreen medical uses, cautions and side effects, dosages, and general details]
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