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-made name, upon the summit; referring to their habitat). Epacridaceae. Heath-like shrubs of Australia and New Zealand, of which half a dozen or less are grown as cool greenhouse pot-plants.
Leaves small and entire, usually sharp-pointed, sessile or short-stalked, scattered or sub-opposite: flowers small and axillary, short-stalked, the flowering stems being elongated leafy spikes, regular and perfect; calyx bracteate; corolla tubular, 5-toothed, white or shades of purple and red; stamens 5; ovary 5-loculed, ripening into either a fleshy or capsular fruit Distinguished from Erica by the bracteate or scaly calyx, and the anthers opening by slits rather than pores. - About 40 species. In the Old World, epacrises are prized by those who grow heaths, and many good varieties are known. They bloom in early spring or late winter. The varieties of E. impressa may be flowered for Christmas; perhaps others may be so treated. A carnation house, 50-55,° suits them well. There are double-fid. forms.
a. Corolla-tube decidedly longer than the calyx.
Labill. Three ft., erect, twiggy, downy: leaves horizontal or deflexed, narrow-lanceolate and sharp: flowers rather large (often 1/2in. long), tubular, pendent, on very short stalks, red or white. B.M. 3407. There are many forms: variety parviflora, Lindl., B.R. 25:19; E. campanulata, Lodd., with broader flowers, L.B.C. 20:1925; E. ceraeflora, Graham. B.M. 3243; E. nivalis, Lodd., snow-white, L.B.C. 19:1821. B.R. 1531; E. variabilis, Lodd., blush, L.B.C. 19:1816; variety longiflora, Cav., (E. miniata, Lindl. E. grandiflora, Willd.). stems woolly, straggling: leaves ovate-pointed or cordate-pointed, sessile or nearly so, many-nerved: flowers long (nearly 1 in.), red at base and white at the limb, cylindrical. B.M. 982. B.R. 31:5. - Handsome. variety splen-dens, Hort., has brighter colors.
aa. Corolla-tube shorter than the calyx or only as long as it.
b. Leaves acute or acuminate.
Benth. Leaves ovate, acuminate, clasping, ascending: flowers small, red nearly sessile in the upper axils; corolla-tube not exceeding the calyx; sepals broad, ciliate. - Little known in U. S. outside of botanic gardens, but of considerable worth.
Stapf. (E. heteronema, Hook.). A graceful shrub, 1 ft., with many wavy branches, naked below, with many leaves above: leaves divaricate on upper part of stem, reflexed below, elliptic-ovate, 3-6 lines long, sharppointed: flowers spicate at the ends of the branches, white; bracts and sepals whitish. New Zeal. Flowers in May in England. B.M. 3257.
R. Br. Leaves ovate-acuminate, trough-shaped, tipped with a long curved point or spine: flowers short, the calyx nearly equaling the corolla, white or pinkish. There is a double-flowered form. L.B.C. 3:237. G.C. II. 5:340. - Probably identical with E. pulchella, Cav.
bb. Leaves very obtuse.
Smith. An erect, much-branched shrub 1-3 ft. tall, the branches usually hairy: leaves small, elliptic or linear, thick and obtuse: flowers small, white, in axillary racemes which are more or less one-sided. L.B.C. 3:292.
Other trade names are: E. ardentissima. Flowers crimson. - E. hyacinthiflora variety candidissima, white, early, and variety fiilgens, pink. - E. hybrida superba is merely a catalogue name for mixed kinds of Epacris. - E. rubella. Flowers bright red. - E. salmdnead)