Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Flowers: Trailing Arbutus

Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus) is a low-growing shrub with small 5-petaled flowers and leathery evergreen leaves.  The flowers fade from pink to white as they age.  E. repens prefers moist, acidic soil and shade. The flowers are pollinated by bumble bees and ants are thought to play a role in seed dispersal for the plant. It is a common component of the oak-heath forest type.  Other members of the oak-heath forest include (in addition to oak trees):  Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel), various blueberries, and various azaleas and rhododendrons. 
E. repends can be found throughout eastern North America, but is endangered in Florida and vulnerable in New York.  It is slow-growing and vulnerable to habitat disturbances and collection. 
Epigaea repens on Jeremy's Run Trail in Shenandoah National Park (2012).  The flowers are about 1/2 inch across.
 E. repens on the Ridge Trail on Old Rag (2012).
 Another view of the leaves.  Jeremy's Run Trail, Shenandoah National Park (2012).
An example of white flowers on the Appalachian Trail near Neighbor Mountain in Shenandoah National Park (2008).

1 comment:

  1. Dear Silver Spring Wanderer! I may want to use one of your arbutus images to link to a quote on a website my church is developing. (The top image above). Please let me know if you would grant permission, and if, so, what attribution you might require. You can reply to