T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Snowberry (Gaultheria depressa var. novae-zelandiae)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaultheria
Species: Gaultheria depressa
Scientific name: Gaultheria depressa var. novae-zelandiae
Common name: Snowberry, Mountain Snowberry, Karopuka

Mountain Snowberry (Gaultheria depressa var. novae-zelandiae) is a prostrate spreading evergreen dwarf shrub (20-30 cm across) from subalpine forestsand alpine areas of New Zealand. It is found mainly on the lower parts of the mountains, less common above the scree. It ispresent on Mt Egmont/Taranaki.
The leaves are thick and leathery 5-10mm long on very short petioles. It flowers November to February. It develops attractive fruits which vary in size an colour which ranges from white, pink and red. These fruits are 3-4 mm across and appear from January to April. 
The berries are edible. Early settlers in Otago use to make snowberry pies.

The white berries of the Mountain snowberry photographed February Mt Egmont/Taranaki







A form with red berries, Photographed Stratford side of Mt Egmont/Taranaki. Late March.