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Erica lusitanica Rudolphi

Modern name

Erica lusitanica Rudolph


E. codonodes Lindl.

An erect, elegant shrub, eventually 10 to 12 ft high, forming large plumose branches; young shoots clothed with simple hairs. Leaves about 14 in. long, linear, slightly grooved beneath, irregularly arranged. Flowers slightly fragrant, produced in great profusion during March and April, or even in January and February in mild seasons and warm districts; they are borne in clusters towards the end of small lateral twigs. Corolla cylindrical, 316 in. long, white; calyx and flower-stalk glabrous, the former with triangular teeth; stamens and style deep pink. Bot. Mag., t. 8018.

Native of S.W. Europe; introduced early in the nineteenth century. The only other species with which this is likely to be confused is E. arborea. From it E. lusitanica differs in the paler foliage, in the more plumose erect branching, in the hairs on the young shoots being unbranched, and in the longer, larger, but less fragrant flowers with a small red stigma. Seen together they are quite distinct. E. lusitanica is, if anything, more tender than E. arborea, but thrives well in the south and south-west counties. In the wild garden at Lytchett Heath, near Poole, the progeny of a single plant have naturalised themselves in thousands, and now cover 112 acres of ground. Near London, it will not survive any lengthened exposure to much more than 20° of frost. This heath flowers with extraordinary profusion, the whole plant with its pyramidal branches 1 to 2 ft long, being covered with blossoms which last long in beauty.



Other species in the genus