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Description for Epigaea repens
Epigaea repens known as mayflower or trailing arbutus â€“ is a low, spreading shrub in the Ericaceae family. It is found from Newfoundland to Florida, west to Kentucky and the Northwest Territories.
Planting and care
Germination time: at least a month. Spacing 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm). Seed grown plants will take around three years before they bloom. Transplant seedlings grown from cuttings, or nursery/ gardening centres either at the start of spring or early in autumn.
Caring for Epigaea repens
- Full or partial shade.
- Sandy and gritty, moist, acidic soils.
- Soil pH 4.0 to 5.0.
- Oak leaf or pine needle mulch (permanently).
- Keep the soil that seedlings grow in moist at all times.
- Propagate: for best results softwood cuttings should be taken towards the end of summer.
Typical uses of Epigaea repens
Special features: An evergreen ground cover that displays interesting foliage, flowers and fruit. Plant in woodland/shade gardens, under trees and in part shade areas of border fronts and rock gardens. Also effective around small ponds. Many gardeners believe this ground cover is not appropriately aggressive for large areas and is best grown in smaller sites.
Ornamental use: The plant is used for ornamental purpose.
Medicinal use: Mayflower is rarely used medicinally, even in folk medicine, though it is a strong urinary antiseptic and is one of the most effective remedies for cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis, bladder stones and particularly acute catarrhal cystitis.
The leaves are astringent, diuretic and tonic. An infusion is made from the dried leaves, or a tincture from the fresh leaves. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of kidney disorders, stomach aches, bladder disorders etc. It is of special value when the urine contains blood or pus. Use with caution, the plant contains arbutin and, although this is an effective urinary disinfectant, it hydrolyzes to hydroquinone which is toxic. The leaves can be used fresh or can be harvested in the summer and dried for later use.
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