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Gaultheria pyroloides and Gaultheria depressa var novae-zelandiae

Ideally suited to growing around the edges of the beds are the ground hugging Gaultherias – they all provide an element of support to the fragile tubes of the autumn flowering Crocus that grow up through them. The nice reticulate leaves in the foreground are those of Gaultheria pyroloides while the fruits are of the Gaultheria depressa var novae-zelandiae which has the tiny leaves you can see.

Gaultheria depressa var novae-zelandiae fruit

I have used the term fruit and not berry as while we tend to call them all ‘berries’ just like we generally call all the underground storage organs ‘bulbs’ but look carefully and you will see they are not berries. The fleshy part is in fact a swollen calyx which expands on fertilisation of the flower to enclose the seedpod in the centre. It never closes completely always staying open at the mouth which I have photographed the opening seed pod through. You can see the seed is stored more or less dry inside the seedpod.

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