This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, to sweep; the branches are sometimes used for making brooms). Ericaceae. Heather. Low evergreen shrubs cultivated chiefly for their bright rosy pink, rarely white flowers appearing in great profusion late in summer.
Leaves scale-like, opposite, in 4 rows, the branchlets therefore quadrangular: flowers in terminal, 1-sided spikes; corolla campanulate, 4-parted, shorter than the 4-parted colored calyx; stamens 8, with 2 reflexed appendages: fruit a septicide, 4-celled, few-seeded caps. - One species in W. and N. Eu., also in Asia Minor; in E. N. Amer. in some localities naturalized. The genus differs from the closely related Erica in its deeply 4-parted colored calyx, longer than the 4-parted corolla. For culture, see Erica.
Salisb. (Erica vulgaris, Linn.). Fig. 746. From 1/2 -3 ft.: leaves oblong -linear, obtuse, sagittate at the base, glabrous or pubescent: flowers small, in long, erect, rather dense racemes, rosy pink, sometimes white. Aug., Sept. - Some of the most distinct of the numerous named varieties are the following: variety alba, Don (and variety alba Hammondii), with white flowers; variety Alportii, Kirchn., of more vigorous growth, with rosy carmine flowers; variety carnea, Hort., with flesh-colored flowers; variety plena, Regel, with double rose-colored flowers; variety hirsuta, Gray (variety tomentosa, Don), the branchlets and leaves with grayish tomentum; variety nana, Kirchn. (variety pygmaea, Hort.), forming low moss-like tufts; variety rubra, Kirchn., with deep rosy carmine flowers; variety prostrata, Kirchn., with the branches spreading and partly prostrate, flowers pink; variety Searlei, Hort. (variety alba Serlei, Hort..), flowers white, appearing late in autumn. -The heather is a very handsome small shrub, well adapted for borders of evergreen shrubberies, or for dry slopes and sandy banks and preferring sunny positions; it is also found growing well in swamps and in partly shaded situations.
Cut branches keep their life-like appearance for many months.
Fig. 746. Calluna vulgaris. (Plant X 1/3)