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Erigenia bulbosa

harbinger of spring add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Perennials, Ephemerals, Bulbs

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam

Height: 2"-10"

Bloom Time: January, February, March, April

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7

Additional Tags: colonizing, ephemeral, shade garden plant, woodland plant

Erigenia bulbosa (harbinger of spring)
  • Erigenia bulbosa (harbinger of spring)
  • Erigenia bulbosa (harbinger of spring)
  • Erigenia bulbosa (harbinger of spring)
  • Erigenia bulbosa (harbinger of spring)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Erigenia bulbosa

Also known as:

harbinger of spring

,

pepper and salt

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Erigenia bulbosa is a diminutive woodland marvel. Flowers appear as early as January, atop bare, leafless reddish stems. These open when barely a couple of inches above the soil. They persist as the leaves emerge, and ultimately grow to about a foot tall. The tiny white flowers are star-shaped and bear dark, conspicuous anthers that go from crimson to black as they mature. This contrasting effect gave rise to the common name "salt and pepper". The leaves are deeply divided and reminiscent of others from the Carrot family.

Cultivation

Erigenia bulbosa is found in moist, rich soil in full to part-shade. It is an ephemeral bulb (the plant goes dormant and the foliage dies back by early summer). It is one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom, hence the common name "harbinger of spring". This characteristic limits its ability to colonies, because there are few pollinators that early in the season. Should be grown among later emerging woodland wildflowers. Blooms as early as late January, and as late as April in the colder parts of its range. Zones 5-7

Propagation

Propagate by division. If attempting to propagate from seed, it is recommended to pollinate the flowers using a brush, rather relying on natural pollinators that are few and far between at that time of year. this will greatly increase the seeds' viability.

Additional Notes

Don't walk too fast or you'll miss this one.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, DC, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NY, OH, OK, PA, TN, VA, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: NY, WI
  • Threatened: PA

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Apiales
Family Apiaceae Carrot family
Genus Erigenia erigenia
Species Erigenia bulbosa harbinger of spring