This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Heath-like shrubs. Leaves scattered, small. Flowers in terminal racemes, blue or pink or white. Corolla deciduous, ovoid, 4- or 5-lobed. Stamens 8 or 10. Capsule splitting between the cells. There are or were two species found within the United Kingdom, and several in North America. The genus was named in honour of Menzies, the naturalist of the Vancouver expedition.
1. M. caerulea, syn. Phyllodoce taxifdlia. - A handsome little evergreen shrub having crowded linear glandular-toothed leaves green on both surfaces and lilac-blue flowers. This is sometimes separated on account of the pentamerous arrangement of the parts of the flowers. A very rare British plant, found also in other parts of Northern Europe, and in America and Asia.
2. M. polifolia, syn. Dabeocia. St. Dabeoc's Heath. - A dwarf straggling viscid shrub, the flowering branches alone erect. Leaves ovate to linear, silvery beneath. Flowers tetra-merous, pedicellate, about 6 lines long, white or pink. There are several other varieties of this elegant little shrub in cultivation, differing in foliage and colouring of the flowers from white to deep purple. A native of Ireland and South-western Europe generally, flowering in June or July.
M, empetrifolia and M. globularis are North American species: the former dwarf with narrow leaves and rosy purple flowers; and the latter about 3 feet high with-ovate leaves clustered at the ends of the branches and drooping pink flowers.