Epigaea repens known as mayflower or trailing arbutus is a low, spreading shrub in the Ericaceae family. It is found from Newfoundland to Florida, west to Kentucky and the Northwest Territories. It can also be found in parts of Central Europe and Western Africa.
The species flowers are pink, fading to nearly white, very fragrant, about 1⁄2 inches (1.3 cm) across when expanded, few or many in clusters at ends of branches. Calyx of 5 dry overlapping sepals; corolla salver-shaped, the slender, hairy tube spreading into 5 equal lobes; 10 stamens; 1 pistil with a column-like style and a 5-lobed stigma.
Stem: Spreading over the ground (Epigaea = on the earth); woody, the leafy twigs covered with rusty hairs. Leaves: Alternate, oval, rounded at the base, smooth above, more or less hairy below, evergreen, weather-worn, on short, rusty, hairy petioles.
Slow growing, it prefers moist, acidic (hummus) soil, and shade.Epigaea repens is the floral emblem of both Nova Scotia and Massachusetts.Curiously, the lower part of the flower petal of Epigaea repens tastes remarkably similar to Lychee berries.
See Also: Sydney florist, Melbourne florist, Brisbane florist