ERICA CARNEA.--South Europe, 1763. This is one of the most beautiful
and desirable of hardy Heaths, on account of the richly-coloured
flowers and early season at which they are produced. In the typical
species the flowers are pink or flesh-coloured, and produced in January
and February. It is a dwarf, compact growing species, with bright green
foliage. There is a form with pure white flowers, named E. carnea alba,
herbacea, but although distinct and beautiful, it is not of so
robust growth as the parent.
E. CILIARIS.--A pretty native species, with ciliate glandular leaves,
and racemes of highly-coloured, rosy flowers. Found in Dorsetshire and
E. CINEREA,--Gray-leaved Heath. In this species, also a native of
Britain, the flowers are of a reddish-purple colour, and borne in dense
terminal racemes. There are numerous varieties, including a
white-flowered E. cinerea alba; E. cinerea atro-purpurea, bearing dark
purple flowers; E. cinerea atro-sanguinea, dark red flowers; E. cinerea
coccinea, scarlet; E. cinerea purpurea, purple flowers; and E. cinerea
rosea, with deep rose-coloured flowers.
E. MEDITERRANEA.--Mediterranean Heath. Portugal, 1648. This is a
robust-growing species, of rather erect habit, and often attaining to
fully a yard in height. Flowers abundantly produced, and of a pretty
pinky hue. Of this there are several varieties, the following being
best known: E. mediterranea hibernica, found in Ireland; E.
mediterranea alba, with white flowers; E. mediterranea nana, of very
dwarf growth; and E. mediterranea rubra, with showy, deep red flowers.
E. SCOPARIA and E. ERECTA are desirable species, the former bearing
greenish flowers, and the latter of decidedly upright growth.
E. TETRALIX.--Cross-leaved Heath. A native species of low, and bushy
growth, with close umbels or terminal clusters of pretty pinky flowers.
The varieties of this most worthy of notice are E. Tetralix alba, white
flowered; E. Tetralix Mackiana, crimson flowered; E. Tetralix rubra,
deep red flowers; and E. Tetralixbicolor, with parti-coloured flowers.
E. VAGANS..--Cornish Heath. A native species, bearing pinky-white
flowers, but there are forms with white and red flowers, named E.
vagans alba and E. vagans rubra.
The various kinds of Heath succeed best either in peaty soil, or that
composed for the greater part of light, sandy loam, but many will grow
and flower freely if planted in rich yellow loam. They are very
desirable plants, either for bed formation, for rockwork ornamentation,
or for planting around the shrubbery margins. Propagation is effected
either by cuttings or sub-divisions, but seedlings of several species
spring up freely under favourable conditions.