Picking Mayflowers

I have such crisp memories of picking wild mayflowers with my brother. Scrounging around on the sun-splashed forest floor, moving decaying leaves with our bare hands to find a delicately scented flower smaller than a dime.

Trailing arbutus are not easy to find; their flowers tend to hide under the leaves. It takes quite a few flowers to make even a small bunch, but they were worth it. When we could find mayflowers, we knew summer was just around the corner. I especially remember the strong scent of wintergreen berries, squished underfoot. I can even now smell the scent of broken ferns under the giant pines. So fresh was the cool spring air, so invigorating was it to be outside exploring after the wait of winter.

Mayflowers (trailing arbutus). Photo from the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Trailing arbutus… waxy thick leaves, flowers with a hint of pink… it has quite a history. In Nova Scotia, it was declared the provincial flower in 1901, and was in use in publications as far back as 1825. According to the Canadian Heritage website, the mayflower was seen as a patriotic symbol- perhaps suggesting achievement in the face of adversity. It appeared on the buttons of the Nova Scotia militia, and on postage stamps along with the rose, the thistle and the shamrock.

These little flowers can only grow in the presence of a certain fungus, and they do not easily propagate. So delicate, yet so strong. Achievement in the face of adversity.  It is a picture of life and beauty, don’t you think? Despite the challenges we face,  there is beauty in abundance… even if we have to hunt for it.

So spend some time outside this spring, especially with those you love. Marvel at the beauty you discover together. And give thanks.



5 thoughts on “Picking Mayflowers

  1. Picking Trailing Arbutus « A Hundred Years Ago

  2. Picking Trailing Arbutus with Friends | A Hundred Years Ago

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