The Heather Family
Ericaceae include evergreen and deciduous shrubs, trees, vines, creepers and perennial herbs. They can be epiphytic, epilithic or terrestrial. Leaves are simple and alternate, opposite or whorled often clustered at the tips of branches or spirally arranged along the stem, usually without stipules. Blades margins are entire or serrate usually with pinnate venation, sometimes achlorophyllous and scale-like or with the margins recurved around the midvein and the leaf needle-like (ericoid). Inflorescences are either terminal or axillary racemes or they may be solitary. Flowers usually bisexual and actinomorphic or zygomorphic. The 4 -5 setals are basally fused as are the 4 -5 petals. Usually the petals form a bell-, cup- or urn-shaped corolla. There are 5 -10 stamens usually free of the petal tube. A nectary is often present inside the stamen whorl around the ovary. the superior to infero ovary is composed of usualy four or five carpels topped by a single, hollow typel and a punctate or lobed stigma. Fruits are berries, drupes aor capsules. Ericaceae is nearly worldwide indistribution. The family contains 126 genera, including Enkianthus, Arbutus, Calluna, Cassiope, Erica, Kalmia, Leucothe, Zenobia, Woolsia, Rhododendron, Andromeda, Diplycosia, Eubotrys, Galtheria, Gaylussacia, Lyonia, Oxydendrum, Pieris, and Vaccinium. Erica is the Latin name for “heather”, probably from the ancient Greek, ereike.