Erica, commonly known as Heath, is a genus of about 800 species of flowering plants in the family Ericaceae, with most of them native to South Africa.
Most of the species are shrubs, but some species are large bushes or trees. They usually have small, narrow leaves arranged in whorls, with beautiful flowers that are shaped like miniature bells. The flowers have four or five sepals forming the calyx, and the flower corolla consisting of separate petals. They can be found in various colors, and can be planted in beds, containers, hanging baskets and pots. Heaths are easy to grow and are great ornamental accents in any yard.
The genus name comes from the Greek word “ereike”, which means “to break”, because some species were used in an infusion to break up bladder stones.
Erica symbolizes protection, admiration, wealth and good fortune.
Interesting facts about Erica
What is the difference between Heath (Erica) and Heather (Calluna)?
Erica and Calluna genera are commonly known as the Heaths (Erica) and Heathers (Calluna).
These plants are very similar in terms of form and growth habit. They are all evergreen and low-maintenance plants that thrive in similar conditions. However, they are separated mainly by the calyx of the flower, foliage type and winter hardiness.
Heaths have corollas that are larger and more prominent than the calyx. On the other side, the length of the calyx in Heathers is longer than the corolla.
In botany, a calyx is the protective layer composed of one or more leaf-like structures called sepals, while the corolla is the collection of petals of a flower.
Another difference between the two are the differences between the shape of their leaves.
Heaths have needle-like leaves, while Heathers have small, flat and scale-like leaves.
There are also differences in cold hardiness among these plants. In general, Heaths are better for warmer climates, while Heathers are more tolerant of cold.
Benefits and Uses
Some species such as Erica australis, Erica manipuliflora and Erica arborea have been used in infusions and folk medicine for centuries for their diuretic, antiseptic, antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and even anticarcinogenic and antitumoral properties.
Erica Plant Data
The flowers come in various colors, including purple, red, pink, white and even yellow.
Spring, Autumn, Winter, Summer
These plants can reach 90 cm (3 ft) in height, but there are also lower-growing varieties.
They prefer moist and well-drained soil, and grow best in acidic soil with a pH ranging from 4.0 to 5.5.