Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Home & Living
  3. Gardening

Maine Wildflowers: Trailing Arbutus (Mayflowers)

See also

Trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens L.) also known as Mayflowers appear in early spring, typically during the month of May here in Maine. These tiny flowers range in color from white to pink and can be found underneath pine trees in shaded areas. The plants creep along the soil and root at intervals creating a mass of evergreen leaves that are often hidden under leaf litter.

Foliage is oval and leathery. These flowers are reported to have earned their name as the Mayflower because they were the first flowers the Mayflower Pilgrims observed after their first cold winter in New England, says the Lady Johnson Wildflower Center.

These woodland wildflowers do not transplant well, but you can buy Mayflowers from American Meadows. They are labeled as hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 7. According to the USDA plant database, trailing arbutus’ natural habitat covers the entire east coast from Canada to Florida.

While some report that Mayflowers require sandy acidic soil, American Meadows says they are tolerant of sandy, loamy and acidic soil. If you wish to add mayflowers to your woodland garden, gathering soil from a location where they are known to thrive is advised.

These plants have always held a special place in my heart, as they were my mother’s favorite. Each year, she set out in hopes of finding these delightfully fragrant flowers and recalled the days of her youth when they were plentiful. We never located them and I have never seen them in the wild.

Someday I hope to discover their hiding place and offer up a bouquet in memory of my mother.



  • ESPYS party
    Athletes and celebrities hit the red carpet at Body at the ESPYS party
    Today's Buzz
  • Healthy balance
    Keeping a healthy balance is so important for your own well-being
    15 Photos
  • Apollo
    NASA observes 45th anniversary of Apollo 11: One giant leap for mankind
    14 Photos
  • Unique jewelry
    Nothing catches the eye or completes and outfit like a great piece of jewelry
    12 Photos
  • Student Farmworker Alliance
    Student-Farmworker Alliance launches 'Boot the Braids' web site
    15 Photos
  • Exercise
    Find out why you should exercise to compliment your diet
    10 Photos