Erica vagans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Cornish Heath)
Jump to: navigation, search
Erica vagans
Erica vagans.JPG
The Cornish heath (Erica vagans)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Erica
Species: E. vagans
Binomial name
Erica vagans
L.

Erica vagans (Cornish heath, wandering heath) is a species of flowering plant in the family Ericaceae, native to Ireland, Cornwall, western France and Spain.[1] It is a vigorous, spreading, evergreen heather reaching 75 cm (30 in) tall and wide, with pink flowers borne in racemes 14 cm (6 in) long in summer and autumn.

The Latin specific epithet vagans literally means "wandering"; in this context it means "widely distributed".[2]

Cornish population[edit]

In Great Britain it is only found on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, where the unusual geology gives rise to the alkaline soils that it favours. It was voted the County flower of Cornwall in 2002 following a poll by the wild flora conservation charity Plantlife.[3] It is often considered the Cornish national flower.[4] According to one story this is because when Joseph of Arimathea first arrived in Cornwall looking for tin he had nowhere to stay, so he spent his first night on a bed of Cornish heather. In thankfulness he blessed the plant and so it is a blessed plant ever since.

Cultivation[edit]

Cornish heath
Cornish heath in close-up

Numerous cultivars have been developed with a range of flower colours in white, pink, mauve and purple. The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-

  • E. vagans f. alba 'Cornish Cream'[5] (white-flowered variety)
  • E. vagans f. alba 'Kevernensis Alba'[6] (white-flowered variety)
  • E. vagans f. aureifolia 'Valerie Proudley'[7] (gold-leaved variety)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  2. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315. 
  3. ^ Plantlife website County Flowers page
  4. ^ James Minahan, The complete guide to national symbols and emblems , Volume 1, 2009
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Erica vagans f. alba 'Cornish Cream'". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Erica vagans f. alba 'Kevernensis Alba'". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Erica vagans f. aureifolia 'Valerie Proudley'". Retrieved 19 June 2013.