Epigaea repens L.
Trailing Arbutus, Mayflower, Plymouth Mayflower
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Synonym(s): Epigaea repens var. glabrifolia
USDA Symbol: EPRE2
Trailing-arbutus becomes a creeping mat, commonly only 4-6 in. high. The broad, oval, leathery leaves are aromatic and evergreen. A trailing, evergreen plant with sweet-scented pink or white flowers in terminal and axillary clusters on hairy stems. Trumpet-shaped, white to pale pink flowers, also aromatic, are followed by a whitish berry, resembling a raspberry in appearance.
For this favorite wildflower with an exquisite fragrance, one must search among the fallen leaves in early spring. It favors exposed sites where the plants are not smothered by leaf litter. It appears to be sensitive to abrupt environmental disturbances, such as lumbering and grazing, which may account for its present scarcity. It is difficult to cultivate. Trailing Arbutus is sometimes referred to as Plymouth Mayflower in reference to the fact that it was the first flower to cheer the hearts of the Pilgrim Fathers after the rigors of their first New England winter. (Strickland)
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: AL , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: ME & s.e. NY to OH, s. to FL & MS
Native Habitat: Sandy to peaty woods or clearings
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Well-drained, humus-rich, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Trailing arbutus is very difficult to establish and perpetuate. It will not tolerate disturbance, is extremely susceptible to failure during drought or flood, and is slow-growing even in good conditions. A mycorrhizal association may be necessary for survival.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Larval Host: Hoary Elfin (Callophrys polia)
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Hoary Elfin |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationSeed Collection: The little green balls which replace the flowers, split in June to show brown seeds embedded in a white pulp. Collect quickly before birds and insect find them.
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
May 05, 2009
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Evergreen shrubs for Michigan
June 17, 2008
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From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Search More Titles in Bibliography
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1992 VOL. 9, NO.1 - Research Update, Creating Native Lawn with Sod, Director's Report, What Makes Pl...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Epigaea repens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Epigaea repens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Epigaea repens
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-06-19
Research By: TWC Staff