Although this plant has leathery evergreen leaves, it is best known from its small clusters of 5-petaled white or pink flowers. These often bloom in March through April & are very fragrant. They hold good supplies of nectar, enough to lure bumblebee queens (their primary pollinators) into looking for them even if they are sometimes covered in leaves. If a bumblebee is able to find 2 flowers of different sexes & pollinate them, then a berry-like capsule is formed. The seeds they contain are very attractive to ants who act as the main seed dispersers.
The flowers are said to be edible & quite tasty, but the plant is getting so rare, that to eat them is a shame, & an actual crime in some areas. I've never tried to taste one. But Trailing Arbutus has been used by people for more than just food in the past. The Algonquian Quebec tribes used a leaf infusion to treat kidney ailments. It turns out that the leaves do contain a substance called arbutin that has been used medicinally to treat kidney stones & urinary tract disorders. The Cherokee also made use of the plant, to treat abdominal pain, induce vomiting, treat diarrhea, indigestion, in addition to kidneys. The Haudenosaunee (sometimes called the Iroquois) thought it could be used for labor pains, rheumatism, kidney issues, & indigestion. For the Potawatomi, it was a sacred tribal flower.