According to plant folklore, the Epigaea was the first spring flowering plant the Pilgrims saw after their first harsh winter in their new country. Historians believed that the Epigaea plant, also known as Mayflower or trailing arbutus, is a plant that has been around since the last Ice Age.
Epigaea is a native forest shrub in the Ericaceae family that develops as an evergreen carpet in forests and peaty clearings. Epigaea is native to eastern North America and is the only member of the genus.
The Epigaea tree is a slow-growing shrub that is generally less than 3-inches tall. The 2- to 6-inch-long stems are covered in rusty, spiky hair. The dark green oval leaves are leathery and stiff. The size of the leaves varies, from ¾ to – inches long.
The edges of the leaves are whole; that is, the edges are smooth, with no teeth. The base of the blade can be heart-shaped or rounded. The margins of the leaves have stiff rust-colored hair. The foliages are alternate, which means that they emerge only from the stem.
The blooms of the Epigaea are dark pink, pale pink, or white. The fragrant bloom appears in clusters of short-stemmed tubular blooms that protrude from the axils of the upper leaves.