The provincial flower of Nova Scotia is the trailing arbutus, more commonly known as the delicate pink mayflower, blooming in the forest glades in early spring, signifies Nova Scotia's coming of age. As far back as 1820 the mayflower emerged as a native patriotic symbol, suggesting high achievement in the face of adversity. The humble evergreen from the native countryside blossoms amid the last remaining snows of winter.
It is a member of the Ericaceae or heath family, its botanical name is Epigaea repens, and it's related to such popular plants as blueberries and cranberries (Vaccinium, various species), rhododendrons and azaleas (Rhododendron), Bog rosemary (Andromeda), and wintergreen (Gaultheria), not to mention of course heaths and heathers (Erica & Calluna). Ericaceous plants like acid soil, which is commonly found throughout much of Atlantic Canada, and certainly here in Nova Scotia. Mayflower is a sub shrub, creeping along the ground in woodlands, (both conifer and hardwood), with woody stems and leathery, hairy leaves. Apparently it ranges as far west as Saskatchewan, and as far south as Florida, although it is sparse in many regions and listed as endangered or vulnerable in several American states.
Although we call it mayflower, it usually starts blooming as early as March on the south shore. Flower colour can be white, tinged with pink, or very pink, and the flowers are edible too. The fragrance is wonderful, sweet without being cloying, and it too varies in strength, possibly connected to the type of soil where it's found growing.
The Country Gardener:
Happy gardening Liverpool