Gaultheria antipoda microphylla Hook.f.
Gaultheria depressa microphylla (Hook.f.) Cheeseman
Gaultheria perplexa Kirk ex Cheeseman
Gaultheria macrostigma is a low-growing, sometimes prostrate, evergreen shrub with wiry, flexuous stems that are often interlaced; it can grow up to 50cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, where it can be used as a ground cover.
Montane to lower sub-alpine open grassland and rocky places in North South and Stewart Islands from 39° and southwards[
]. Found in a wide range of habitats, mainly at elevations from 450 - 900 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Gaultheria macrostigma is only hardy outdoors in the milder regions of the temperate zone, tolerating occasional temperatures falling as low as -5°c.
Requires a light well-drained lime-free soil[
The plant can make a good nesting place for mice, these mice then eat the bark of the stems in winter causing die-back.
Dioecious. Male and female plants must usually be grown if seed is required. This species, however, does not need a male pollinator in order to fruit well. It also hybridizes freely in the wild with other members of this genus[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Fairly large[
]. The rosy-red fruit is about 6 - 12mm in diameter[
A good ground cover for sun or light shade.
The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 - 10 weeks and surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep moist[
]. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 - 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. Watering them with care and making sure you give them plenty of ventilation will reduce this risk. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent this[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter[
]. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 - 6cm long, mid summer in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring[
]. A good percentage usually take.
Division in spring just before new growth begins. 'Drop' the plants 12 months earlier by digging them up and replanting them deeper in the soil so that the branches are buried and can form roots. This works best in a sandy soil[
]. It is best to pot up the divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse until they are established. Plant them out in the summer.
Layering in September/early autumn. Takes 12 months[