Sp. Pl. 1: 395. 1753.
Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 186. 1754 ,.
Subshrubs. Stems creeping or prostrate; twigs coarsely hirsute (especially new growth). Leaves persistent, alternate; petiole present; blade coriaceous, margins entire. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, spikes or dense racemes, 2–6 (–10) -flowered; perulae absent. Flowers bisexual or unisexual (functionally dioecious), radially symmetric; sepals 5, distinct, (imbricate); petals 5, connate for ca. 1/2 their lengths, corolla ± deciduous, ± salverform; stamens 10, included; anthers without awns, dehiscent by longitudinal slits; ovary 5-locular; style included; stigma 5-lobed. Fruits capsular, depressed-globose, dehiscence septicidal. Seeds ca. 100, ovoid to globose, not winged, not tailed; testa foveolate. x = 12.
North America, e, sw Asia
Orphanidesia Boissier & Balansa
Species 3 (1 in the flora).
Epigaea comprises E. repens in eastern North America, E. asiatica Maximowicz in eastern Asia, and E. gaultherioides (Boissier & Balansa) Takhtajan in southwestern Asia (Caucasus region).
The species of Epigaea are infrequently cultivated; they are difficult to establish and maintain (M. A. Dirr 1998).