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Genus Gaultheria Family Ericaceae
Subfamily Vaccinioideae
Common Name: Waxberries

Description: Erect, spreading or prostrate shrubs.

Leaves alternate, penniveined, margins toothed [or entire].

Inflorescences either racemes in upper axils or in terminal groups, or single flowers in similar positions. Flowers 5-merous. Sepals 5, persisting and enlarging in fruit. Corolla 5-lobed, urceolate to campanulate, mostly white; lobes short. Stamens 10, hypogynous, not exserted from tube; anthers 2-lobed, each lobe terminated by 2 erect awns, dehiscing by terminal pores. Ovary 5-locular, ovules several or many in each loculus.

Fruit a loculicidal capsule opening by 5 valves, ± enclosed in the fleshy calyx; seeds numerous, very small.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 150 species, tropical, subtropical and temperate regions, especially Malesia & Central & South America. Australia: 4 species (3 species endemic), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas.

Text by J. M. Powell, except for groups with contributors listed
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Inflorescences 3–11-flowered racemes, terminal flowers lacking, each flower with 2 bracteoles; calyx becoming white or pinkish in fruit; stems hispid with more or less appressed bristly hairsGaultheria appressa
Inflorescences 1-flowered, the peduncle with a terminal flower and 4–9 bracteoles; calyx remaining green in fruit; stems glabrous or only slightly bristlyGaultheria viridicarpa

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