Ground Laurel, Mayflower, Trailing Arbutus

Epigaea repens

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Epigaea (ep-uh-JEE-uh) (Info)
Species: repens (REE-penz) (Info)
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Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


under 6 in. (15 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer



Other details:

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Panama City, Florida

Bar Harbor, Maine

Pownal, Maine

Cumberland, Maryland

Halifax, Massachusetts

Saint Helen, Michigan

West Branch, Michigan

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Blacksburg, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 27, 2016, Mitchella from Pownal, ME (Zone 5b) wrote:

I grew this plant from seed (from Gardens North); it required no pre-treatment, and germinated at nearly 100% in three weeks under lights (requires light; sow on surface.) Although an easy germinator, the seedlings are very tiny and need close watching as they must not dry out. I grew mine on in small trays inside the plastic boxes salad mix comes in; a clear plastic bag would work too. Sown in early March 2015, they were (barely) big enough by October to transplant some into a nursery bed and some into a small woodland garden. I also kept some in the plastic box outside over the winter; they did well and have now been moved into a cool bright spot in the barn. The nursery and garden plants are still under snow. Transplanting them, especially from the wild, is difficult; growing from ... read more


On Feb 20, 2011, BopMcK from Milton, MA wrote:

The New England Wild Flower Society Nasami Farm Nursery has been able to propagate this rare wildflower and offers them for sale in their 2011 perennial list:
They are native to Massachusetts, where the Nasami Farm Nursery is located, and are the state wildflower. I have not yet tried to grow them, but am looking forward to buying some.


On Dec 29, 2006, Camille2 from Bar Harbor, Maine,
United States wrote:

This plant is difficult to transplant from the wild. In 2005 I was given a small piece of Epigaea repens, which I planted in peaty soil in a shady spot in my Bar Harbor garden.
I would like very much to find a nursery where I could purchase more plants, possibly in better health than the one given to me.


On Dec 11, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Difficult to transplant as the roots are tempermental. There is a cultivar that has double flowers, too. It's named "Plena"


On May 18, 2003, CindyLouhoo wrote:

This plant seems to like acidic soil, grows near pine trees in places that have moss growing in the vicinity. They don't really raise up from the ground but just crawl along it. The flowers are definitely more pink than white, but do shade to white toward the centers. As they age, they seem to get more pale. The fragrance of the flowers is heavenly.
They are supposedly very difficult to grow. These were found at our camp in central Pennsylvania, where they are quite plentiful.


On Sep 3, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a woody,low growing and evergreen shrub that creeps along the ground. It doesn't get but about 2 inches tall. The stems are hairy.The leaves are alternate,rough and leathery and the underside is hairy. The flowers are very fragrant and pinkish white.The fruit is a five sided,berry like capsule that splits showing tiny seeds in a white pulp.This is one of the earliest spring wildflowers to bloom.Usually found in sandy or rocky woods especially with acid soil.

This name(Mayflower)is said to date back to the Pilgrims, who found it plentiful around Plymouth,Massachusetts,and the first bloom to assure them that their first terrible winter was over. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem,"The Mayflowers," that captures the timeless lure of this wildflower. As the name of the... read more