Gaultheria mucronata (syn. Pernettya mucronata) Ericaceae
Chilean Pernettya gawl-THEE-ree-a mew-kron-AH-ta
- Evergreen shrub, 2-5 ft (0.6-1.5 m) tall, compact, spreading by underground runners. Leaves alternate, ovate-lanceolate, 2 cm long, sharp-pointed, glossy dark green, may turn bronzy in winter. Flowers small, bell-shaped, white to pink, appear in May-June. Fruit is fleshy, round, about 12 mm across, colored white, pink, red, or lilac, persist through fall and winter.
- Sun, part shade. Best in moist, acid soil. Tolerates wind and wet conditions. Tops need pruning to stay attractive.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 7 Native range from Mexico to the Antarctic, New Zealand, and Tasmania. Several cultivar, which vary in flower color.
- The genus Pernettya was designated by a French botanist, Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupe, in 1825 to honor Antoine J. Pernetty, author of Bougianville's voyage to South America. The genus Gaultheria was created earlier, in 1735, by C. Linnaeus to honor Dr. Gaultier, a physician of Quebec City. Some 200 years later in a review of the two genera several hybrids of Gaultheria and Pernettya were described, however, the authors did not suggest uniting the two genera, believing that more study was needed. In 1990 a thorough study of the two genera was published and the authors concluded that Pernettya should not be maintained as a separate genus. This has resulted in Pernettya being merged into Gaultheria, and the former intergeneric hybrids designated ×Gaultheria are now included in Gaultheria (Mulligan, B. O. 1996 Washington Park Arbor. Bull. 50(1):4). However, in the nursery trade the Pernettya designation is still frequently used.
- mucronata: mucronate (abruptly terminated by a sharp point, a mucro), the leaves.