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Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Tennessee Mountains

By Vernon and Cathy Summerlin

Design by Lenz, Inc. Decatur, Georgia.

Tennessee Mountains > Sidebars > Trailing Arbutus

Trailing Arbutus

The trailing arbutus (Epigea repens) blooms from February to June with white or sometimes pink, exquisitely sweet, fragrant flowers. Trailing arbutus is also called mayflower, but there is a disagreement about how it got that name. Some say it came from England on the Mayflower, and others contend that it was the first spring flower the newly landed Pilgrims saw in this country. Indians used the trailing arbutus as an astringent. White pioneers considered it a diuretic, but don't use it because it can cause harm if ingested. Its beauty has caused people to try transplanting, which this low-growing, evergreen shrub does not tolerate well.

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Published (print): 1999, Published (Web): January 2003, ISBN: 1-56352-475-9
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