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.
Taxonomic Hierarchy 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