This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Erica herbacea. Herbaceous Heath.
Calyx 4-phyllus. Corolla 4-fida. Filamenta receptaculo inserta.
Antherae bifidae. Capsula 4-locularis.
ERICA herbacea antheris muticis exsertis, corollis oblongis, stylo exserto, foliis quaternis, floribus secundis, Lin. Syst. Vegetab. p. 306. carnea Sp. Pl. ed. 3. p. 504.
ERICA carnea. Jacq. Fl. Austr. v. 1. tab. 32
ERICA procumbens herbacea. Bauh. Pin. p. 486.
Since the days of Mr. Miller, who, with all his imperfections, has contributed more to the advancement of practical gardening than any individual whatever, our gardens, but more especially our green-houses, have received some of their highest ornaments from the introduction of a great number of most beautiful Heaths: the present plant, though a native of the Alps and mountainous parts of Germany, is of modern introduction here, what renders it particularly acceptable, is its hardiness and early flowering; its blossoms are formed in the autumn, continue of a pale green colour during the winter, and expand in the spring, flowering as early as March, especially if kept in a green-house, or in a common hot-bed frame, which is the more usual practice.
It may be propagated by seeds or cuttings, the latter is the most ready way of increasing this and most of the other species of the genus: when the cuttings have struck root, they should be planted in a mixture of fresh loam and bog earth, either in the open border, under a wall, or in pots.
The name of herbacea, which Linnaeus has given to this plant, is not very characteristic, but it should be observed, that Linnaeus in this, as in many other instances, has only adopted the name of some older botanist; and it should also be remembered, that in genera, where the species are very numerous, it is no easy matter to give names to all of them that shall be perfectly expressive.
This species does not appear to us to be specifically different from the mediterranea.