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Vascular Plants of California
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Gaultheria humifusa

Higher Taxonomy
Family: EricaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, shrub, tree. Stem: bark often peeling distinctively. Leaf: simple or 0, generally cauline, alternate, opposite (whorled), evergreen or deciduous, often leathery, petioled or not; stipules 0. Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, cyme, or flowers 1, terminal or axillary, generally bracted; pedicel often with 2 bractlets. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial, bell-shaped, cylindric, or urn-shaped; sepals generally (0)4--5, generally free; petals generally (0)4--5, free or fused; stamens (2--5)8--10, free, filaments rarely appendaged, anthers dehiscing by pores or slits, awns 0 or 2(4), seemingly abaxial, reduced or elongate, generally curved; nectary generally present at ovary base, generally disk-like; ovary superior or inferior, chambers generally 1--5, placentas axile or parietal, ovules 1--many per chamber, style 1, stigma head- to funnel-like or lobed. Fruit: capsule, drupe, berry. Seed: generally many, winged or not.
Genera In Family: +- 100 genera, 3000 species: generally worldwide except deserts; some cultivated, especially Arbutus, Arctostaphylos, Rhododendron, Vaccinium. Note: Monophyletic only if Empetraceae included, as treated here. Ledum included in Rhododendron. Non-green plants obtain nutrition from green plants through fungal intermediates.
eFlora Treatment Author: Gary D. Wallace, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Gary D. Wallace, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: GaultheriaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Shrub, glabrous or short- or long-hairy, glandular or not, often smelling of wintergreen, generally rhizomed. Stem: prostrate to erect, rooting at nodes or not. Leaf: alternate, evergreen, leathery, entire to serrate. Inflorescence: raceme, each flower with 1 bract, 2 bractlets, or flowers 1 in leaf axils, each with 4--10 bractlets; pedicel jointed to flower. Flower: sepals generally 5, fused; petals 5, fused, cylindric, urn-, or bell-shaped, white to red; stamens (5,8)10, anthers dehiscing by 2 short, slit-like to rounded pores, awns (0,2)4, sometimes reduced; ovary superior or 1/2-inferior, chambers (4)5, placentas axile, at top. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal or irregularly dehiscing, generally +- enclosed by fleshy, colorful calyx (or a berry and/or with non-fleshy calyx). Seed: few to many per chamber, appendages 0.
Species In Genus: +- 130 species: circum-Pacific, eastern North America, eastern Brazil, Himalayas. Etymology: (J.F. Gaulthier, botanist, physician, Quebec, 1708--1756)
eFlora Treatment Author: Walter S. Judd
Reference: Middleton 1991 Bot J Linn Soc 106:229--258
Gaultheria humifusa (Graham) Rydb.
Stem: low, < 2 dm, glabrous to puberulent, long, glandular hairs 0 to moderate. Leaf: 0.5--3 cm, minutely serrate or +- entire (or appearing so), especially near base; base rounded to truncate; tip obtuse to rounded. Inflorescence: flowers 1 in leaf axils. Flower: sepals glabrous, in fruit red; corolla bell-shaped, glabrous, white (pink-tinged); filaments papillate, anther awns 0. Fruit: red.
Ecology: Wet subalpine forests; Elevation: 1350--4000 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, CaRH, SNH; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, Colorado. Flowering Time: Jun--Aug
Jepson eFlora Author: Walter S. Judd
Reference: Middleton 1991 Bot J Linn Soc 106:229--258
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Gaultheria humifusa

botanical illustration including Gaultheria humifusa


Citation for this treatment: Walter S. Judd 2012, Gaultheria humifusa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 25, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 25, 2022.

Gaultheria humifusa
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© 2010 Barry Breckling
Gaultheria humifusa
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© 2011 Steve Matson
Gaultheria humifusa
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© 2013 Vernon Smith
Gaultheria humifusa
click for enlargement
© 2011 Steve Matson
Gaultheria humifusa
click for enlargement
© 2009 Steve Matson
Gaultheria humifusa
click for enlargement
© 2009 Barry Breckling

More photos of Gaultheria humifusa in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Gaultheria humifusa:
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).