Though the term "American plants" has long ceased to be a correct one in its indiscriminate application to the great family of hardy ericaceous shrubs cultivated in this country, seeing that America contributes a comparatively small proportion of its numerous members, it is nevertheless still used conventionally to designate that group which includes the Rhododendron, Azalea, Andromeda, Erica, with many others which require to be grown in peat soil, and perhaps not altogether inappropriately, as commemorative of the fact that from that continent were first introduced into British gardens some of those grand representatives which, notwithstanding the rivalry of more recent introductions from other quarters of the globe, still maintain their position, and are as extensively cultivated as ever.

The order Ericaceae, to which these plants either belong or are closely allied, is remarkable for the great extent of its geographical distribution - stretching to the utmost limits of vegetation in both hemispheres - and is interesting to cultivators from the great diversity of the forms it assumes in the various sections into which it is divided; while the uniform beauty of flower, and, in most cases, elegance of foliage, give it an importance in horticulture unsurpassed by any known family of plants.

Before proceeding to notice more particularly some of the more prominent of the genera, we may premise that, as far as culture is concerned, there is little to add to what we have already said in former papers in reference to Rhododendrons, their requirements both as to soil and general management, with some special modifications which we shall advert to in the course of our notes, being very much the same.