This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Prostrate slightly woody more or less hirsute branching shrubs, with alternate petioled coriaceous evergreen entire leaves. Flowers rather large, perfect, heteromorphous or dioecious, bracted, sessile, white or pink, fragrant, clustered at the ends of the branches. Sepals 5, oblong, persistent, dry, much imbricated. Corolla salverform, the tube pubescent within, the limb 5-lobed (rarely 4- or 6-lobed). Stamens 10, about as long as the corolla-tube and attached to its base; filaments filiform; anthers linear-oblong, attached to the filaments below the middle. Disk 10-lobed. Ovary ovoid, hirsute, 5-lobed, 5-celled; ovules numerous; style columnar; stigma 5-lobed. Capsule depressed-globose, fleshy, hirsute, slightly 5-lobed, at length 5-valved. Seeds oval, the testa close and reticulated. [Greek, on the earth.]
Two species, the following of eastern North America, the other of Japan.
Epigaea repens L. lap. Pl. 395. 1753.
Spreading on the ground, twigs hirsute, branches 6'-15' long. Leaves oval or nearly orbicular, thick, acute or obtuse and mucronulate at the apex, cordate or rounded at the base, mostly glabrous above, more or less hirsute beneath, green both sides, 1'-3' long, 1/2'-1 1/2' wide; petioles hirsute, ¥-2' long; flowers few or several in the clusters, 5"-8" long, and nearly as broad when expanded; corolla-tube somewhat longer than the sepals; capsule splitting along the partitions into 5-valves, which spread backward into a 5-parted rosette, exposing the white succulent fleshy interior.
In sandy or rocky woods, especially under evergreen trees, Newfoundland to Saskatchewan, south to Florida, Kentucky and .Wisconsin. Often forms large patches. Winter or mountain pink. Gravel-plant. Crocus. Shadflower. March-May.