Guide to the Tennessee Mountains
By Vernon and Cathy Summerlin
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.
Published (print): 1999, Published (Web): January 2003,