Erica arborea (tree heath) is a species of flowering plant in the family Ericaceae, native to the maquis shrublands surrounding the Mediterranean Basin and west to Portugal and the Canary and Madeira Islands. There are disjunct populations in Africa including the Ethiopian Highlands, the mountains of Ruwenzori and the Cameroon Mountains. It is a part of the heather family of flowering plants.
It is an upright evergreen shrub or small tree with a typical height of 1–4 m (3 ft 3 in–13 ft 1 in), but with some specimens reaching 7 m (23 ft), bearing dark green needle-like leaves and numerous small honey-scented bell-shaped white flowers. It is a calcifuge, preferring acid soil in an open sunny situation.
- 'Estrella Gold' (gold-tipped leaves)
- E. arborea var. alpina
- E. arborea var. alpina f. aureifolia 'Albert's Gold' (gold-leaved)
- E. × veitchii 'Exeter' (E. arborea × E. lusitanica)
The football-sized tubers are harvested at the age of 30 to 60 years. They are cooked for several hours, after which they are dried for several months before they are further processed. The wood is light brown to reddish brown, often beautifully textured, very hard, heat-resistant and does not affect the aroma of pipe tobacco smoke .
The wood is also used for making jewellery and knife handles.
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- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Erica arborea 'Estrella Gold'". Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Erica arborea var. alpina". Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Erica arborea var. alpina f. aureifolia 'Albert's Gold'". Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Erica × veitchii 'Exeter'". Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- Adams, W.M., A.S. Goudie & A. R. Orme (eds.) (1996): The Physical Geography of Africa. Page 55. Oxford University Press, 1996.
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