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The Erica ‘Sunset’ heather cultivar was discovered in 1978 “as a seedling of unknown pollen parentage growing in a cultivated field of Erica persoluta, the variety believed to be the seed parent, where it was noticed because of its early blooming and particularly because of its reaching full bloom, from base to tip, more than a month before the parent plant begins to bloom.” It was the early blooming of the Erica ‘Sunset’, during the Christmas and Valentine’s Day seasons that distinguished it from other known varieties.
The specific epithet name “quadrangularis” means four-angled. Erica is Greek from “ereike” (heather) and “ereiko” (to break), an infusion from the leaves was reputed to break bladder stones.