04.17.2022 Mayflower

Also known as Trailing Arbutus-Epigaea repens flowers well before May as evidenced under our side yard Hemlock currently. It got its name because it is among the earliest of spring flowers but generally appears before the actual month it is named for.  In 1918, after failing to come up with a state flower, the legislature allowed the Massachusetts schoolchildren to select a name and they chose the Mayflower. Some credit the ship that brought the first Europeans to Massachusetts for the name but that isn’t the case.

I purchased ours from Nasami Farm, a the western branch of the New England Wildflower Society garden shop.  As far as I know removing them from the wild is illegal but taking any wild plant is bad practice and, in most cases, illegal as well. Trailing Arbutus is a member of the Heath family and related to blueberries and cranberries.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Amherst, Closeup Photography, Flora, macro photography, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to 04.17.2022 Mayflower

  1. melissabluefineart says:

    This isn’t one I’m familiar with. I suppose it lives in boggy areas?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All those little white hairs—if that’s what they are—surrounding the center of each flower add good photographic texture.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Sadly, they are rare in the wild these days. Beautiful photo!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ms. Liz says:

    Lovely flower and story!


  5. krikitarts says:

    Another new one for me too, and a real beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. shoreacres says:

    I had no idea Trailing Arbutus is a flower. I came to know ‘him’ as a character in the comic strip Gordo; Trailing Arbutus was the grandson of Gordo’s housekeeper Alicia Contreras de Ortiz, better-known as Tehuana Mama. In 1950s Iowa, Gordo was our introduction to Mexico, and the strip was much beloved.

    The flower is lovely; I can imagine that it’s much beloved, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never heard of that comic. There could be a comic about a private eye named Arbutus.
      Obviously it was loved by early 20th century Massachusetts students. Most of the flower folks I know are pretty taken with it as well. Very small but lovely with the pink hue and all those cute hairs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wally Jones says:

    What a beautiful flower! Your excellent photograph highlights the texture of the leaves.
    I was surprised to learn they occur in Florida, although only in a couple of spots in the panhandle. I shall have to visit my sister in Pensacola soon …..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not that I have much of an idea about Florida flora but I am surprised too. Good excuse for a road trip and a place to stay makes it even better. Once the flowers have passed the leaves are still a source of visual pleasure. Thanks, Wally.


  8. Todd Henson says:

    I love the texture of their leaves. It looks like they might be stiff ones, but not sure. Beautiful flowers and certainly something to look forward to each spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are just a bit thick so a little stiff. When I first looked for them a week or so ago they were covered by hemlock needles and I thought I had lost the plant. But a little gardening revealed them.


  9. bluebrightly says:

    There it is – the arbutus my mother appreciated – and it’s a plant that I never got to know. I love the pale, pale pink blush in the flowers. It’s satisfying to see it photographed so well, Steve! I’d like to see it in person someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you enjoyed this image, Lynn, and it’s reminder of your mother’s pleasure with it. Unfortunately it only resides naturally in the eastern half of the U.S. Maybe some people or botanical gardens have imported it into your area.


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