Plant Pick: Prunus maritima, Beach Plum
With the coming of May comes the bloom of a choice native plant: Trailing Arbutus, or Epigea repens. This 4″-6″ high groundcover was once harvested for its evergreen leaves and fragrant, waxy pink or white flowers and sold on city streets.
A group of concerned citizens formed the New England Wild Flower Society in 1900 to protect this and other threatened plants! Another common name is Mayflower, and this is the state flower of Massachusetts.
I look for Epigea repens locally in Willard Brook State Park in West Townsend where it occurs in large patches on a rocky outcrop in the light shade of evergreens. It makes a carpet running over the ground and is fragrant indeed!
This plant is cultivated responsibly by one of our favorite perennial growers, so when available, we can procure it for you. The grower reports that two seasons of moisture helps the plant root in, and it will take drought in future seasons.