April 10, 2010

May Flowers in April

Today I share our rarely seen state of Massachusetts state wild flower, the May flower. OK, it's not May, but Mayflowers (Epigaea repans), also known as Trailing Arbutus actually bloom in April, with some wild population blooming around the first week of May. They only grow in high acid, sandy woodland conditions exactly what we have here in central Massachusetts. The Mayflower ship that the Pilgrims used was named after this plant which they found growing in the woodlands here in Massachusetts.
Sweetly scented, one would need to get dirty knees to appreciate the sweet smell, but my Dad ( who is 96) reminded me that as a kid in the 1920's he and his friend would pick Trailing Arbutus and sell them short stems in bloom to local florists who would make May Day nosegays with them. Today, the wild plant is rare, and, this pink form, even rarer. The wild forms open pink and age to white, this form I have ( micro propagated) remains pink.

According to Wikipedia, curiously, the lower part of the flower petal of Epigaea repens tastes remarkably similar to Lychee berries.

1 comment :

  1. Wow, what a great find to come across the rarest of the rare. Great job. Matti


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