Greater than 90% are from South Africa (Cape Province).
Common relatives include rhododendron, azalea and blueberry.
Tiny bell-shaped flowers occur in dense clusters at stem ends.
Stems 8-12 inches long with needle-like leaves.
Plant is a woody shrub, classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
Flowers are not fragrant.
34-38 F, up to 5 days in water, longer when held dry. In one test they were held at 35F for over two weeks and still had 10-15 days of vaselife.
Calluna is Greek; to sweep as the branches are sometimes used as brooms. Erica is Greek from “ereike” (heather) and “ereiko” (to break), an infusion from the leaves was reputed to break bladder stones.
These two genera are often confused. The main way to tell them apart is that with Erica, the calyx (outer part of flowers consisting of the sepals) is shorter than the corolla (inner circle of flower consisting of the petals) whereas with Calluna, the calyx is longer than the corolla.