Erigenia bulbosa

Erigenia bulbosa

name = Erigenia bulbosa

image_width = 240px
image_caption = "Erigenia bulbosa"
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Apiales
familia = Apiaceae
genus = "Erigenia"
species = "E. bulbosa"
binomial = "Erigenia bulbosa"
binomial_authority = (Michx.) Nutt.

"Erigenia bulbosa", also known as harbinger of spring or pepper and salt, is a perennial plant in the carrot family (Apiaceae). "E. bulbosa" is the only species in the genus "Erigenia" (Nutt.). This plant is known as harbinger of spring because it is one of the earliest blooming native wildflowers of rich forests in the mid-latitude United States. It is found as far north as central New York and southern Wisconsin, west to the western Ozarks, and south to central Alabama. [ [ USDA PLANTS Database: "Erigenia bulbosa"] ] It is also found in extreme southern Ontario.Throughout most of its range it blooms from late February through early April. It is a small spring ephemeral reaching only 5-15 cm tall when in flower, and slightly larger afterwards. Each spherical bulb gives rise to a single purplish stem, which terminates in an umbel. The flowers have white petals and large dark-reddish anthers. The teardrop shaped petals are 3-4 millimeters long, widely spaced and do not touch each other. As is characteristic of the carrot family, the leaves of this plant are sheathed at the base and pinnately divided into many small sections.


This plant is an occasional in rich hardwood forests of eastern North America. Its typical associates include spring beauty ("Claytonia virginica"), and cut-leaf tooth wort ("Cardamine laciniata"). All of these early spring blooming plants are pollinated by solitary bees, and to a lesser extent, flies and honey bees. "E. bulbosa" has a small daily accumulation of nectar per flower (7–38 µg sugar/flower), but the presence of numerous, closely arranged, simultaneously blooming flowers in the umbel may increase the overall nectar incentive for the pollinators. [ [ Dailey, T. B. & P. E. Scott 2006. Spring nectar sources for solitary bees and flies in a landscape of deciduous forest and agricultural fields: production, variability, and consumption. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 133:535–547] ] The nectar produced by "E. bulbosa" only contains the sugar fructose. [ [ Dailey, et al. 2003. Nectar rewards of co-flowering spring herbs in woodlands and adjacent agricultural fields. Abstracts: 87th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America.] ]

These plants are protected in New York and Wisconsin as state endangered plants, and in Pennsylvania as threatened.


The bulb is edible both cooked and raw. [ [ Plants for a Future Database: E. bulbosa.] ] The Cherokee were known to chew this plant as medicine for toothaches, it is unknown what parts of plant they chewed. [ [ Dr. Moermann's Ethnobotanical database: E. bulbosa] ] This plant is sometimes used in native wildflower gardens throughout its range.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Erigenia bulbosa — ID 31351 Symbol Key ERBU Common Name harbinger of spring Family Apiaceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity Native to U.S. US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution AL, AR, DC, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NY, OH, OK, PA, TN,… …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Erigenia bulbosa (Michx.) Nutt. — Symbol ERBU Common Name harbinger of spring Botanical Family Apiaceae …   Scientific plant list

  • Erigenia bulbosa (Michx.) Nutt. — Symbol ERBU Common Name harbinger of spring Botanical Family Apiaceae …   Scientific plant list

  • Erigenĭa — (E. Nutt.), Pflanzengattung aus der Familie der Doldengewächse Umbelliferae Hydrocotyleae, 2. Ordn. 5. Kl. L.; Art: E. bulbosa, in Nordamerika …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • harbinger-of-spring — | ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ˈ ̷ ̷ noun (plural harbingers of spring) : a small tuberous early blooming No. American herb (Erigenia bulbosa) of the family Umbelliferae with ternate leaves and umbellate white flowers * * * /hahr bin jeuhr euhv spring /, n.,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Flora of Ohio — This list includes plants native and introduced to the state of Ohio, designated (N) and (I), respectively. Varieties and subspecies link to their parent species. A * Abies balsamea var. balsamea (N) * Abutilon theophrasti (I) * Acalypha deamii… …   Wikipedia

  • Apioideae — Wiesen Bärenklau (Heracleum sphondylium), Illustration Systematik Kerneudikotyledonen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chervil — Garden Chervil Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked) …   Wikipedia

  • Cumin — Geerah redirects here. For a unit of measurement, see girah. Not to be confused with curcumin. For Irish saints of this name, see Cumméne. Cumin Scientific classification …   Wikipedia

  • Celery — Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked) …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.