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Daboecia cantabrica1373917974.jpg
Daboecia cantabrica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Tribe: Ericeae
Genus: Daboecia

Daboecia /dæˈbʃiə/,[1] St. Dabeoc's heath, is a small genus of flowering plants in the family Ericaceae, containing two evergreen shrubs, closely related to the genus Erica. They are native to cliffs and heathland in south-western Europe.


They produce urn-shaped flowers in shades of white, pink and red. Daboecia differ from European Erica species in having a substantially larger corolla. The leaves are always alternate in Daboecia, never whorled. The generic name comes from the Irish Saint Dabheog.


Daboecia has an oceanic southern distribution in western Europe, including western Ireland, western France, northwestern Spain, Portugal and the Azores.[2] Like Erica species, and Calluna Daboecia are calcifuges, but will tolerate neutral soils and avoid peat.


Some botanists regard D. azorica as a subspecies of D. cantabrica, which would render the genus monospecific.


The two species have been extensively cultivated and hybridised to produce a number of popular garden plants. Cultivars include selections from the hybrid between the two species, which is named Daboecia × scotica.

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (confirmed 2017):[4]

  • D. cantabrica ‘Waley’s Red’[5]
  • D. cantabrica subsp. scotica ‘Silverwells’[6]
  • D. cantabrica subsp. scotica ‘William Hicks’[7]


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  3. ^ "Irish heath". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 6 February 2018. 
  4. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 16. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  5. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - D. cantabrica 'Waley's Red'". Retrieved 6 February 2018. 
  6. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - D. cantabrica subsp. scotica 'Silverwells'". Retrieved 6 February 2018. 
  7. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - D. cantabrica subsp. scotica 'William Hicks'". Retrieved 6 February 2018. 
  • Oliver, E. G. H. (2000). Systematics of Ericeae. Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium 19.
  • Nelson, E. C. (1984). Dabeoc – a saint and his heather. Yearbook of the Heather Society 1984: 41–46.
  • Nelson, E. C. (2000). A history, mainly nomenclatural, of St Dabeoc's heath. Watsonia 23: 47–58.

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