One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A creeping evergreen North American shrub of the heather family, with spiny scented leaves and waxy white flowers.
Gaultheria procumbens, family EricaceaeAlso called wintergreen
- ‘Further north you have service berries or juneberries in the wet woodlands; bearberries on the moors and heaths, checkerberries or wintergreen in the woods and moors, and cranberries in the boggy heaths, which has berries that remain on the plant throughout winter.’
- ‘When this constant lover returned he brought an offering of late May-flowers and bright checkerberries held clumsily in his big hand, and gave them to the only woman he had ever loved.’
- ‘The leaves and flowers of Eastern teaberry (also known as checkerberry, boxberry, partridge berry, wintergreen berry, teaberry and mountain tea) have a mildly perfume scented aroma.’
- 1.1 The edible red fruit of the checkerberry plant.
- ‘She and her younger sister Annie were allowed one April day, by their mother, to go into the woods just before school hours, to gather checkerberries.’
- ‘Here we gathered all the berries before named, and besides them checkerberries, dangleberries, and grapes.’
- ‘These little people, quite recovered from their fatigue, had set about gathering checkerberries, and now came clambering to meet their play-fellows.’
- ‘Because checkerberry was once popular for making a tea, another name for it is eastern teaberry.’
Late 18th century: from checkers or chequers ‘berries of the service tree’ (so named from their colour) + berry.
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