Erica erigena

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Erica erigena
Western shore of Lough Carrowmore, County Mayo - - 66091.jpg
E. erigena in flower with gorse (Ulex), Lough Carrowmore, western Ireland
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Erica
Species: E. erigena

Erica erigena (Irish heath) is a species of flowering plant in the family Ericaceae, native to cliffs and heathland in Ireland, southwestern France, Spain, Portugal and Tangier. It is a compact evergreen shrub growing to 75 cm (30 in), with somewhat brittle foliage and deep pink honey-scented flowers in winter and spring.[1][2] Its appearance in the far west of Ireland, separated from the main Mediterranean populations, suggests a garden escape.[3]

In cultivation, it is often seen as groundcover amongst dwarf conifers. Like others of its kind, it is a calcifuge, preferring an open sunny site with well-drained acid soil. Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

  • E. erigena 'Irish Dusk'[4]
  • E. erigena f. alba 'W.T. Rackliff'[5] (white-flowered)


  1. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  2. ^ "Great plant picks - Erica erigena". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Doyle, Gerard J. "The history of Erica erigena R. Ross, an Irish plant with a disjunct European distribution". Journal of Quaternary Science. Wiley online library. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Erica erigena 'Irish Dusk'". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Erica erigena f. alba 'W.T. Rackliff'". Retrieved 19 June 2013.