The Heather Family. Strictly speaking, the word heather encompasses only the genus Calluna, but it is also used as a general term to cover heaths which are principally made up of two other genera, Erica and Daboecia.
See: Ling, Calluna vulgaris (Ling, Scotch heather), below.
Daboecia cantabrica (St. Dabeoc's Heath) It is thought this plant genus was named after Dabeoc, the youngest son of a Welsh chieftain who founded a monastery on an island in Lough Derg in Ireland. However, we do know that Linnaeus reversed the 'o' and 'e' when naming the genus, an error that has been perpetuated ever since.
This heather tends to have two flushes of flowers, the first in early summer and often another in early autumn which continues until frost occurs. The bell-like flowers range in colour from white through lavender to deep purple.
A genus of nearly 800 species found from the warm wet conditions of western Europe to the dry hot conditions of southern Africa. The name Erica derives from the Greek word ereiko meaning to break. It possibly derives from the medieval theory that the plant could dissolve gallstones, alternatively, it may refer to the fact that the stems of some species are easily broken.