A modern reference to temperate woody plants, including updated content from this site and much new material, can be found at Trees and Shrubs Online.

Pernettya leucocarpa DC.

Modern name

Gaultheria pumila var. leucocarpa (DC.) D.J.Middleton


P. andina Meigen; P. gayana Decne.

A low, creeping evergreen shrub up to 6 or 8 in. high, spreading much wider by underground stems and of dense habit. Leaves mostly 14 to 38 in. long, elliptic, oblong-elliptic, or oblong-lanceolate, roundish at the apex, dark shining green, glabrous, lateral veins beneath not visible, margins entire or very faintly crenate-toothed. Flowers white, sometimes tinged with pink, solitary in the leaf-axils, pedicels equalling or shorter than the leaves. Fruits globose, white, edible; calyx not fleshy.

Native of the Andes of Chile and bordering parts of Argentina, from the latitude of Santiago at least as far south as 42° S., common on the volcanoes, where it reaches to the snow-line; described by de Candolle from a specimen collected by Poeppig on the Antuco volcano; introduced by Harold Comber in 1926 under C.501.

P. leucocarpa is closely allied to P. pumila, but is of more open habit and the leaves are not so densely arranged.

P. Comber 591 P. leucocarpa Hort.; P. leucocarpa var. linearis Hort. – From specimens preserved in the Kew Herbarium it is clear that the plants raised from the seeds sent by Comber under 591 and distributed as P. leucocarpa var. linearis, do not in fact belong to P. leucocarpa, and are most probably hybrids between it and P. prostrata subsp. pentlandii. This could also be true of the wild plant from which Comber gathered the seeds, since the dried specimen he collected does not agree well with P. leucocarpa. Of the cultivated plants under C. 591 some resemble P. prostrata subsp. pentlandii, but have unusually narrow leaves. Thus the plant at Nymans which received an Award of Merit as “P. leucocarpa” when shown in 1929 has linear-oblong or linear-elliptic leaves up to 12 in. or slightly more long and about 110 in. wide, slightly toothed and with the lateral veins raised beneath. Other specimens from the same batch of seeds are nearer to P. leucocarpa, but none agrees well with it. The wild plant named P. leucocarpa var. linearis by Reiche could well have been a hybrid also; the name is given by Dr Sleumer as a synonym of P. prostrata pentlandii.



Other species in the genus