Glossy dark green elliptic-to-oblong leaves form on erect stems. Nodding bell-shaped waxy white flowers bloom from the leaf axils in June. Flowers give way to vivid red berries. Leaves will take on beautiful burgundy shades in the fall.
Excellent winter food source for free-range chickens, partridge, turkeys, and some two- and four-legged mammals.
Fragrant leaves contain methyl salicylate, a potent external anti-inflammatory, and can be used to make a poultice or massage oil to ease arthritic pain and sore muscles. Designated Maine’s State Herb in 1999.
Plant 16" apart in dappled shade in moist but not boggy woodland soil. Grows over a 1-3' spread. Self-pollinating. Z3. (nursery-propagated 3½" plugs)