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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 8 | Ericaceae

25. Epigaea Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 395. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 186. 1754.

Trailing arbutus [Greek epi-, upon, and gaia, earth, alluding to creeping habit]

Walter S. Judd, Kathleen A. Kron

Orphanidesia Boissier & Balansa

Subshrubs. Stems creeping or prostrate; twigs coarsely hirsute (especially new growth). Leaves persistent, alternate; petiole present; blade coriaceous, margins entire. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, spikes or dense racemes, 2-6(-10)-flowered; perulae absent. Flowers bisexual or unisexual (functionally dioecious), radially symmetric; sepals 5, distinct, (imbricate); petals 5, connate for ca. 1/2 their lengths, corolla ± deciduous, ± salverform; stamens 10, included; anthers without awns, dehiscent by longitudinal slits; ovary 5-locular; style included; stigma 5-lobed. Fruits capsular, depressed-globose, dehiscence septicidal. Seeds ca. 100, ovoid to globose, not winged, not tailed; testa foveolate. x = 12.

Species 3 (1 in the flora): North America, e, sw Asia.

Epigaea comprises E. repens in eastern North America, E. asiatica Maximowicz in eastern Asia, and E. gaultherioides (Boissier & Balansa) Takhtajan in southwestern Asia (Caucasus region).

The species of Epigaea are infrequently cultivated; they are difficult to establish and maintain (M. A. Dirr 1998).

SELECTED REFERENCES Clay, K. 1983. Myrmecochory in the trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens L.). Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 110: 166-169. Clay, K. and N. C. Ellstrand. 1981. Stylar polymorphism in Epigaea repens, a dioecious species. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 108: 305-310. Lhotska, M. and Z. Seibert. 1988. Epigaea L. Skalnicky 19(4): 121-126.

Lower Taxon


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