Name from pyxis, a small box, and anthera, anther; the anther opening as if by a lid.
Perennial. A small, creeping evergreen shrub, very-leafy, much branched, growing in mat-like patches. Moist, sandy soil of the pine-barrens of New Jersey and North Carolina. March-May.
Long tap-root, from the centre of the matted top.
Moss-like, narrow, pointed, alternate, crowded and overlapping; young ones woolly at base.
Many, small, five-parted, white with pinkish buds, solitary and terminal.
Five sepals, oblong and obtuse, reddish at tip.
Short, bell-shaped, five-lobed; lobes ovate, erose.
Five, inserted on corolla, alternate with its lobes; anthers awned at base.
One, with three-celled ovary and single style.
Pollinated by small flies.
This is a pretty little creeping plant found native only in the pine-barrens of New Jersey and North Carolina; a plant which creeps like a vine, looks like a moss, flowers like an herb, and is really a shrub; that is, its stems are woody. It forms small evergreen mounds resembling mossy cushions, which in early
Pyxie. Pyxidanthera barbulata spring are sprinkled with pink buds and tiny white flowers.
The name is purely scientific but, shortened to Pyxie, irresistibly suggests the fairy wild folk to whom that name belongs and, smiling upward in the April sunshine, the tiny creature wields a marvellous charm.
The Pyxie belongs to a small and exceptionally interesting group of plants which are remarkable for their beauty, distinctiveness, and geographical distribution. They, allied to the heaths, are survivors of an ancient world and represent a vanishing race. The plant grows best in moist, sandy soil, in partial shade and soil rich in vegetable mould. The buds normally are pale pink; in full sunlight and poor soil they are darker.