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One of the first ephemeral Spring natives to flower, and one of the most adorable plants ever, Erigenia bulbosa, brightens up the shade garden with its pure white flowers. The chocolate colored anthers contrast beautifully with the petals and are most likely the reason for one of the common names, "Pepper and Salt".
The genus name Erigenia comes from the Greek word erigeniea which means early born, a reference to how early in the season it flowers and the species bulbosa refers to the fact that it grows from a bulb-like rootstock.
Erigenia bulbosa is a great plant to use where you have plants like Hostas or some of the later emerging ferns planted. They occupy those bare spots that we have early in the Spring, as we impatiently wait for some of the later emergents to unfold their foliage and fill in those voids.
If you're lucky, they'll self sow around gently, but due to a reliable lack of pollinators that early in the year, you may want to get out there with your paint brush and help the process along.
Kingdom - Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom - Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision - Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division - Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class - Magnoliopsida
Subclass - Rosidae
Order - Apiales
Family - Apiaceae
Genus - Erigenia
Species - bulbosa
Common name - "Harbinger of Spring", "Salt and Pepper"
Synonyms - none
Native range - http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/FLORA/cgi/b98_map?genus=Erigenia&species=bulbosa
USDA Hardiness Zone - at least 5, possibly 4 or 3
Light preference - Open bright shade to full shade
Soil fertility preference - Average to rich
Soil pH preference - neutral to acidic
Soil moisture preference - Moist to average
Bloom time - Very early Spring
Bloom color - White
Fragrance - None
Foliage - Medium green, fern-like
Spread - 4" - 12"
Height - 2" - 10"
Deer palatability - Seems deerproof, at least my deer don't seem interested
Landscape uses - Front of shade border or wild garden
Related species - None
Medicinal uses - None found
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© 1995 - 2003 Barry Glick and Sunshine Farm & Gardens
Barry Glick aka Glicksterus maximus aka The Cyber-Plantsman
Sunshine Farm & Gardens
HC 67 Box 539 B
Renick WV 24966 USA
EMAIL - firstname.lastname@example.org
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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Rd, Renick, WV 24966, USA
Phone: (304) 497-2208
Last modified February 25, 2020