Erica abietina L. ssp. abietina
There is no record of a plant called Erica abietina in the Camden Park historical record. Erica abietina L. ssp. abietina is included in the Hortus as the plant grown by Macarthur under the name Erica coccinea may be Erica abietina. See Horticultural & Botanical History below and Erica coccinea L. for further explanation.
Erica abietina is a sturdy, dense shrub with a single, freely-branching woody stem, the mid to upper branches clothed with a dense arrangement of green, needle-like leaves. The flowers are clustered near the ends of the branches and are bright red, tubular, curved and flared at the mouth. Flowers are produced from midsummer to midwinter but appear occasionally throughout the year. To 1.5m. [http://www.plantzafrica.com].
Horticultural & Botanical History
‘This [Erica coccinea], like so many other kinds, is a native of the Cape of Good Hope, and is said to have been introduced in 1783 to the Kew Garden. It flowers at various seasons, continuing long, and is a fine species. It must be kept in an airy greenhouse, potted in sandy peat earth, and will increase by cuttings. The discoveries making throughout the world prove the number of plants to be inconceivable. A general collection is no longer possible; but much might be done if lovers of Botany would each chuse [sic] a class, an order, a tribe, or even a single genus, according to the taste and convenience of each - procure all that is practicable of its species - and cultivate them in the best style of excellence.’ [LBC no.1375/1829].
History at Camden Park
Erica coccinea was listed in the 1843, 1845 and 1850 catalogues and marked with a ‘c’, indicating grown at Camden, in a copy of Loddiges’ 1836 catalogue held at Camden Park [CPA].
I am grateful to Alice Notten and Ted Oliver of the Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden, South Africa for correctly identifying the figures of Erica coccinea in the Botanical Cabinet and Andrews’ Heaths and providing historical data on this plant and Erica abietina.
Published Jan 09, 2009 - 02:03 PM | Last updated Aug 31, 2011 - 01:41 PM