An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Trailing Arbutus Fruiting

trailing arbutus fruit 115The fruit of Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens), also known as “Mayflower,” is maturing. While this plant’s flower is familiar, its fruit may not be. Although it develops from the flower, and therefore is in the same location (under cover of Trailing Arbutus’s leathery leaves next to the ground), it is not as showy or as noticeable. In addition, the aromatic pink and white flowers that blossom in early spring infrequently set fruit. Out of a stand of well over 100 flowering Trailing Arbutus plants, only two could be found that bore fleshy white fruit.

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to and click on the yellow “donate” button.

8 responses

  1. Susan Sawyer

    What a weird little thing — I don’t have a patch this big, so I don’t know if I’ll find any, but I am going to go look. Thanks for finding and posting this, Mary!

    July 3, 2015 at 8:36 am

  2. Very cool – I never saw (or noticed?) this before.

    July 3, 2015 at 8:53 am

  3. Marilyn

    Thus it persists mainly be trailing, rather by reseeding. I never thought about fruits; I’ll have to go look.

    July 3, 2015 at 9:03 am

  4. joan waltermire

    I wonder who disperses seeds hidden away down there? Can anyone see an elaiosome on the seeds?

    July 4, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    • I looked closely, but didn’t see any elaiosomes…doesn’t mean they weren’t there!

      July 4, 2015 at 6:20 pm

  5. So do they propagate mainly through rhizomes?

    July 7, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    • I have recently discovered that the seeds DO have elaiosomes — so even though they don’t set a lot of fruit, the ants oblige by carrying the seeds underground where their germination rate is very high!

      July 8, 2015 at 8:07 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s