Erica carnea in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Erica

Over 700 species, including:
Erica arborea
Erica azorica
Erica caffra
Erica carnea
Erica cerinthoides
Erica ciliaris
Erica cinerea
Erica erigena
Erica lusitanica
Erica mackaiana
Erica mammosa
Erica manipuliflora
Erica reunionensis
Erica scoparia
Erica tetralix
Erica turgida
Erica vagans
Erica verticillata

Erica (play /ˈɛrɨkə/),[1] the heaths or heathers, is a genus of approximately 860 species of flowering plants in the family Ericaceae.[2] The English common names "heath" and "heather" are shared by some closely related genera of similar appearance.

Most of the species are small shrubs from 0.2-1.5 m high, though some are taller; the tallest are E. arborea (Tree Heath) and E. scoparia (Besom Heath), both of which can reach up to 6–7 m tall. All are evergreen, with minute needle-like leaves 2–15 mm long. Flowers are sometimes axillary, and sometimes in terminal umbels or spikes, and are usually outward or downward facing. Flowers are borne in mass, and the plants are grown as landscape or garden plants for their floral effect. The seeds are very small, and in some species may persist in the soil for decades.

At least 660 of the species are endemic to South Africa, and these are often called the Cape heaths, forming the largest genus in the fynbos. The remaining species are native to other parts of Africa, Madagascar, the Mediterranean region, and Europe.

Like most of the rest of the Ericaceae, Erica species are mainly calcifugous, being limited to acidic or very acidic soils – from dry, sandy soils to extremely wet ones such as bog. They often dominate dwarf-shrub habitats (heathland and moorland), or the ground vegetation of open acidic woodland.

The closely related genus Calluna was formerly included in Erica – it differs in having even smaller scale-leaves (less than 2–3 mm long), and the flower corolla being more divided into separate petals. Erica is sometimes referred to as "Winter (or Spring) Heather" to distinguish it from Calluna (Summer (or Autumn) Heather).

Plants of this genus are eaten mainly by the larvae of many Lepidoptera species including Emperor Moth, Garden tiger moth, True Lover's Knot, Wormwood Pug and the Coleophora case-bearers C. juncicolella and C. pyrrhulipennella.

See also


  1. ^ The expected Anglo-Latin pronunciation, /ɨˈraɪkə/, may be given in dictionaries (OED: "Erica"), but /ˈɛrɨkə/ is more commonly heard (Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607)
  2. ^ Manning, John; Paterson-Jones, Colin (2008). Field Guide to Fynbos. Struik Publishers, Cape Town. p. 224. ISBN 9781770072657. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Erica —  Pour le village australien, voir Erica (Australie).  Pour le village néerlandais, voir Erica (Drenthe).  Pour l’art …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Erica — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda ? Erica Erica tetralix C …   Wikipedia Español

  • Erica — hat mehrere Bedeutungen: Erica (Vorname), Frauenname Heidekräuter (Erica), Pflanzengattung Erica (Drenthe), Ortsteil der niederländischen Gemeinde Emmen (Drenthe) Erica (Victoria), Kleinstadt in Gippsland im australischen Bundesstaat Victoria… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Erica — f English and Scottish: Latinate feminine form of ERIC (SEE Eric), coined towards the end of the 18th century. It remains common in Gaelic Scotland as an Anglicized form of OIGHRIG (SEE Oighrig) (see also EIRIC (SEE Eiric) and …   First names dictionary

  • Erica — (Molazzana,Италия) Категория отеля: 4 звездочный отель Адрес: 55020 Molazzana, Италия …   Каталог отелей

  • Erica — E*ri ca, n. [NL., fr. L. erice heath, Gr. ?.] (Bot.) A genus of shrubby plants, including the heaths, many of them producing beautiful flowers. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Erīca — (E. L., Haide), Pflanzengattung aus der Familie der Ericaceae Ericineae Ericeae Euericeae, 1. Ordn. 8. Kl. L. Kelch vierblätterig od. viertheilig, Blumenkrone mit vierspaltigem Saume, Narbe kopfig, schildförmig od. klein, acht Staubgefäße,… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Erīca — L. (Heide), Gattung der Erikazeen, kahle oder verschieden behaarte, niedrige, bisweilen auch über 6 m hohe Sträucher oder Halbsträucher mit wirtelig gestellten, kleinen, schmalen oder schuppigen Blättern, einzeln oder in arm bis reichblütigen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Erica — Erīca L., Heide, Pflanzengattg. der Erikazeen, meist niedrige Sträucher und Halbsträucher, mit nadelförmigen immergrünen Blättern und meist rot gefärbten Blütentrauben, bes. vom Kap. E. tetrălix L., Sumpfheide [Abb. 198], auf Torfheiden… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Erica —   [zu griechisch ereíkon »zerbrechen« (wohl weil die Sprossachse leicht zu brechen ist)], wissenschaftlicher Name der Glockenheide.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Erica — fem. proper name, female form of ERIC (Cf. Eric) …   Etymology dictionary

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