PYXIE FLOWERING MOSS PINEBARREN BEAUTY
(Pyxidanthera barbulata) Diapensia family
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,
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 pinewoods at the same time, soon
sulks itself to death.
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