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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Ordo: Ericales

Familia: Ericaceae
Subfamilia: Ericoideae
Tribus: Phyllodoceae
Genus: Epigaea

E. asiatica – E. gaultherioides – E. repens

E. × intertexta

Epigaea L. (1753)

Type species: E. repens L.


Orphanidesia Boiss. & Balansa ex Boiss., Pl. Or. Nov. Dec. 1: 3. 1875.
Type species: O. gaultherioideseus, Boiss. & Balansa
Parapyrola Miq., Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugduno-Batavi 3: 191. 1867.
Type species: P. trichocarpa Miq.


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species plantarum, exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas. Tomus I. Pp. [I–XII], 1–560. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae [Stockholm]. BHL Reference page. : 395.


Hassler, M. 2020. Epigaea. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2020. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2020 May 06. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Epigaea in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 May 06. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Epigaea. Published online. Accessed: May 06 2020. 2020. Epigaea. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 06 May 2020.

Vernacular names
English: Epigaea
日本語: イワナシ属

Epigaea is a genus comprising three species of flowering plants in the family Ericaceae. The species are small creeping shrubs that are typically anywhere from 10 to 20 centimetres (3.9 to 7.9 in) tall at full growth, forming large patches. The leaves are evergreen, alternate and simple, ranging amongst the three species from 2 to 10 centimetres (0.79 to 3.94 in) long. The flowers are small, white or pink, with a five-lobed tubular corolla which is produced in mid-spring. The fruit is a dry capsule with numerous small seeds.

Extant species

There are three species:

Flower Name Description Distribution
Epigaea asiatica s3.JPG Epigaea asiatica (Iwanashi) Leaves with an acutely pointed apex Japan
Epigaea gaultherioides-2.JPG Epigaea gaultherioides Leaves elliptical, leathery, base cordate, apex acuminate, petiole pubescent. Georgia and northeastern Turkey
Epigaea repens - Trailing arbutus.jpg Epigaea repens (Mayflower or trailing arbutus) Leaves with a rounded or bluntly pointed apex. Eastern North America

Epigaea repens is listed as an endangered species in some U.S. states.

The name Mayflower was in tradition given to E. repens by the Pilgrim Fathers after their ship the Mayflower; the plant was abundant where the ship landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. For this reason, it was chosen to be the state flower of Massachusetts. It is also the provincial flower of Nova Scotia. The name Trailing Arbutus reflects its similarity to the trees in the related genus Arbutus, while being much smaller and prostrate on the ground.
Cultivation and uses

All three species are grown as ornamental plants in rockeries, where they require moist, acidic soil. A hybrid between E. repens and E. asiatica, Epigaea × intertexta has also been developed for garden planting.

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