This section is from the book "Nature's Garden", by Neltje Blanchan. Also available from Amazon: Nature's Garden; An Aid To Knowledge Of Our Wild Flowers And Their Insect Visitors.
Flowers - Abundant, white, or sometimes pink, about 1/4 in. across, 5-parted, solitary, seated at tips of branches. Stem: Prostrate, creeping, much branched, the main branches often 1 ft. long, very leafy, growing in mat-like patches. Leaves:
Moss-like, very narrow, pointed, seated on stem, and overlapping like scales, on upper part of branches.
Preferred Habitat - -Dry sandy soil; pine barrens.
Flowering Season - March - May.
Distribution - New Jersey, south to North Carolina.
Curiously enough, this creeping, tufted, mat-like little plant is botanically known as a shrub, yet it is lower than many mosses, and would seem to the untrained eye to be certainly of their kin. In earliest spring, when Lenten penitents, jaded with the winter's frivolities in the large cities, seek the salubrious pine lands of southern New Jersey and beyond, they are amazed and delighted to find the abundant little evergreen mounds of pyxie already starred with blossoms. The dense mossy cushions, plentifully sprinkled with pink buds and white flowers, are so beautiful, one cannot resist taking a few tuffets home to naturalize in the rock garden. Planted in a mixture of clear sand and leaf-mould, with exposure to the morning sun, pyxie will smile up at us from under our very windows, spring after spring, with increased charms; whereas the arbutus, that untamable wildling, carried home from the pine-woods at the same time, soon sulks itself to death.