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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Erica (ericas)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Order: Ericales > Family: Ericaceae

About 860 species, native to Africa, Madagascar and Europe, with 752 species native to southern Africa and a further two species that are cultivated in the region. The greatest diversity is in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

Classification of species native to southern Africa

The sections below are in many cases artificial and do not represent the true evolutionary classification of the genus. However, they are a useful way of splitting up the genus into manageable chunks until a better classfication has been produced. I am most grateful to Dr E.G.H. (Ted) Oliver for supplying the checklist of species classified by section.

Section: Gigandra

3 species.

Erica coccinea

Section: Didymanthera

5 species.

Erica viridiflora

Section: Pleurocallis

21 species.

Erica baueri subsp. baueri

Section: Evanthe

49 species

Erica glandulosa

Section: Dasyanthes

9 species

Section: Chona

One species: Erica embothriifolia


Section: Bactridium

Two species: Erica fascicularis and Erica massonii.

Erica fascicularis

Section: Euryloma

20 species


Section: Ceramus

9 species

Erica praecox

Section: Callista

14 species

Erica daphniflora (Sweet-scented heath)

Section: Platyspora

6 species


Section: Myra

5 species


Section: Ephebus

71 species

Erica caffra

Section: Ceramia

52 species


Section: Desmia

5 species


Section: Gypsocallis

9 species


Section: Pyronium

22 species


Section: Orophanes

32 species

Erica sitiens

Section: Leptodendron

13 species

Erica campanularis

Section: Pachysa

34 species

Erica multumbellifera

Section: Hermes

19 species


Section: Chlorocodon

10 species


 Section: Arsace

30 species


Section: Pseuderemia

16 species


Section: Polydesmia

3 species


Section: Chromostegia

5 species


Section: Oxyloma

3 species


Section: Eriodesma

4 species

Erica lanata

Section: Amphodea

3 species


Section: Geissostegia

15 species


Section: Elytrostegia

6 species


Section: Apoecus

3 species


Section: Lamprotis

26 species

Erica pycnantha

Section: Eurystegia

17 species

Erica holosericea

Section: Adelopetalum

Two species: Erica nabea and Erica insignis.


Section: Trigemma

32 species


Section: Polycodon

11 species


Section: Eurystoma

22 species

Erica uysii

Section: Melastoma

15 species

Erica seriphiifolia

Section: Gamochlamys

9 species


Section: Cyatholoma

2 species

Erica corydalis (White petticoat heath)

Capsular species (ex Philippia, Blaeria & Ericinella) not yet placed in the above series

23 species


Species native to Zimbabwe and Mozambique (placement unknown)

8 species


Indehiscent fruited species (former Minors)

86 species


Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Erica australis

Native to Spain and Portugal.


Erica carnea

Native from Germany to Macedonia.



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Oliver, E.G.H. 1993. Studies in the Ericoideae (Ericaceae). XI. The generic relationship between Erica and Blaeria. Kew Bulletin 48: 771780.
  • Oliver, E.G.H. 1993. Studies in the Ericoideae (Ericaceae). XII. The placing of the genus Blaeria into synonymy under Erica; nomenclatural and taxonomic changes for the southern African region. Bothalia 23: 1 7.