Diario del proyecto Ericas of Southern Africa

25 de marzo de 2023

Erica porteri, Erica tenax and Erica thomae

A few observations turned up from Pringle Bay that are purple instead of white (thomae), green (tenax) or purple with white tips (porteri).
So what are they? None of this is helped by Ted Oliver sinking them all into Erica thomae and not recognizing any subspecies or varieties under the species, despite the historical taxonomists regarding them as good species.

So what do we have on iNaturalist?

As it turns out Erica tenax is very well behaved. All our green flowers, which tend to have the widest portion before the tip, and tend to be tall, sparsely branched plants, are on the Kleinmond shale band from Fairy Glen to the golf course, with a few plants on the sandstones above. Rocky outcrops below and the odd rocky patch on the shale band, do have some white Erica thomae, with only a few records of an iffy plants (i.e. white Erica tenax: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/10124218, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/10098679 & https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/67573514).
The electronic Erica key states: longer pedicels (13-16 mm long); corolla 22-30 mm long, green to white.

Erica thomae is by far the most widespread and encompasses all three species. It is a well branched, white flower, widest at the tip of the corolla. It is usually in sandstone rocky outcrops (mainly of the Peninsula formation).
The electronic Erica key states (not very usefully): Leaves 6-nate. Very variable species in shape and colour of the flowers and in length of the pedicels. ... See previous and next entries for variants.

Erica porteri is the issue. The electronic Erica key states: It has short pedicels (4-7mm long); corolla 20--25 mm long, more delicate, dark reddish pink with white mouth; leaves more spreading (up to 90 degrees). Our records from the type locality ( see here ) almost all tend to have a very clear pink with white tip corolla. This form extends eastwards to Harold Porter. However, on the Pringle Bay side, are purple flowers without or with only small white tips. Are these Erica porteri or Erica thomae (or a fourth "variant"). Some of these do not have spreading leaves - and there appears to be overlap between the porteri and thomae colour forms. ( see here ).

This is also part of this set of "fly-glue" Heaths. But it is quite distinct and to the north of E. thomae at Franschhoek Pass and Villiersdorp Mtns. It is quite distinct as red with yellow tips.

The the distributions here:

Clearly, more work needs to be done. A quest: for the Great Southern Bioblitz?

Please help ID these last few straggling observations:

Publicado el 25 de marzo de 2023 a las 10:50 PM por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de junio de 2022

Global Conservation Consortium for Erica

The Global Conservation Consortium for Erica brings together the world’s Erica experts, conservationists, and the botanic garden community to ensure that no wild species of Erica becomes extinct.


Of 944 such taxa in the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s Red List,

Publicado el 24 de junio de 2022 a las 09:07 AM por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de julio de 2021

Sections in Erica

Quick View:
((Note that this is not all the sections: this only displays those sections with observations not identified to species level, so many groups are not shown: but it is a useful overview))
Unfortunately, iNat does not display all observations in pictoral format at a higher level.

An alphabetical listing can be found here:
click on the taxonomy tab..

Here are the sections in order of observations (i.e. most widespread are listed first) as of July 2021.
click to open

Genus Erica Heaths

Section Erica European Heaths 11,576 C

Section Pleurocallis Rib Heaths 4,559 C-Sy
Section Evanthe Handsome Heaths 3,651 C-Sy
Section Gigandra Hanging Heaths 2,647 C-Sy

Section Lamprotis Shiny Heaths 1,778 K-Ch
Section Dasyanthes Shaggy Heaths 1,646 C-Sy
Section Orophanes Summit Heaths 1,627 C-Eu
Section Ephebus Teenage Heaths 1,547 C-Eu
Section Pachysa Ball Heaths 1,355 C-Eu

Section Quadripartita Fourpart Heaths 957 M
Section Geissostegia House Heaths 888 K-Ch
Section Hermes Column Heaths 787 C-Eu
Section Trigemma Tribud Heaths 689 K-Ch
Section Arsace Shield Heaths 655 C-Eu
Section Blaeria Fourmale Heaths 590 M
Section Gypsocallis Lime Heaths 521 C-Eu
Section Uniovulata Oneseed Heaths 502 M

Section Pyronium Pyre Heaths 496 C-Eu
Section Callista Sister Heaths 492 C-St
Section Euryloma Star Heaths 464 C-St
Section Melastemon Blackmen Heaths 464 K-Po
Section Gamochlamys Cloak Heaths 428 K-Po

Section Philippia Skewsepal Heaths 373 M
Section Polycodon Minibell Heaths 340 K-Po
Section Eurystegia Gooseberry Heaths 318 K-Ch
Section Ceramia Pitcher Heaths 308 C-Eu
Section Ventiflora Mini Heaths 302 M

Section Bactridium Staff Heaths 292 C-Sy
Section Eurystoma Open Heaths 271 K-Po
Section Pseuderemia Clusterball Heaths 210 C-Eu

Section Eriodesmia Woolball Heaths 196 K-Ch
Section Ceramus Urn Heaths 181 C-St
Section Didymanthera Divided Heaths 148 C-Sy
Section Elytrostegia Sheath Heaths 139 K-Ch
Section Chlorocodon Greenbell Heaths 104 C-Eu
Section Amphodea Raspberry Heaths 101 K-Ch

Section Polydesmia Bundleball Heaths 86 C-Eu
Section Adelopetalum Ringpetal Heaths 76 K-Ch
Section Leptodendron Twig Heaths 59 C-Eu
Section Oxyloma Frill Heaths 59 K-Ch
Section Platyspora Flatseed Heaths 57 C-St
Section Apoecus Sepal Heaths 51 K-Ch

Section Myra Clammy Heaths 49 C-St
Section Chromostegia Colourball Heaths 42 K-Ch
Section Cyatholoma Cuprim Heaths 30 K-Po
Section Desmia Triplet Heaths 23 C-Eu
Section Chona Funnel Heaths 15 C-Sy

(C = corolline; K = calycine; M = minors)

On iNat we have not included the subgenera. These are:

Corolline - corolla prominent

  • Sy : Syringodea Tube Heaths - corolla a tube, large (>8mm long), corolla lobes not stars.
  • St - Stellanthe Star Heaths - corolla not a tube, smaller (<8mm long), corolla lobes starlike
  • Eu - Euerica True Heaths - corolla not a tube, smaller (<8mm long), corolla lobes not stars

Calycine - sepals prominent

  • Ch - Chlamydanthe Sepal Heaths - sepals large, corolla urn-shape, corolla not widening to the mouth
  • Po - Platysoma Open Heaths - sepals not very conspicuous, corolla rounded at base with a wide mouth

Minors - small with reduced parts

Publicado el 10 de julio de 2021 a las 10:51 AM por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

Projects for Erica.

If you know of any projects for Erica, please add them below, with a link.

Please feel free to join and participate in these projects, bearing in mind that some may already have completed.

Publicado el 10 de julio de 2021 a las 10:19 AM por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Electronic Key to Erica

The objective of this Identification Aid package is to provide the Erica enthusiast with a simple aid to help identify Ericas. This based on as few simple characters as possible and all visible with a 10x magnifier.

Hopefully this will reduce the number of Erica species to a manageable number, among which your unknown Erica may readily be found.

The detailed drawings and pictures may then be compared to the sample to enable the user to determine the species. Due to the limited number of characters in this package, use of the Diagnostics & notes may have to be resorted to in order to come to a final decision, but this aspect is far from complete due to the vast number of species that still need to be dealt with.

The electronic key is available from the Bolus Herbarium UCT, and the Kirstenbosch Book Shop.


Dr EGH ‘Ted’ Oliver was the Erica taxonomist based at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa. Since retiring in 2003 he has been a research associate at Stellenbosch University. He has worked on the genus since 1959 and with his wife (see below) provided the data and documentation for this Erica Identification Aid.

Inge Oliver (1947–2003) was a research associate at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa, working with her husband on Erica taxonomy. Her drawings and sketches with notes of all the Ericas have been scanned for the Erica Identification Aid. Many of the sketches were executed as graphic notes for their research and were not meant to be publishable quality, line drawings. Some additional drawings were done by Ted Oliver and several by other artists and extracted from accounts of the species published in scientific books and journals.

Fritz Volk (1930–2009) was an amateur botanist who after retiring to the Cape, developed a keen interest in the fynbos and botany especially in Proteas, later Ericas and then Iridaceae. He conceived the idea of a simple computer package using Microsoft Access to help identify South African Ericas rather than using the highly complex, international software packages like LUCID and DELTA. He did the initial programming of the package (Genus Erica: Interactive Erica Identification Key, Version 1.00) and the encoding of data from the books and photocopies of journals and files provided by the Olivers. He took photographs of herbarium material where these were lacking from existing photographs of live material. Many of these are being replaced in new versions of the package when live plants are photographed.

Nigel Forshaw is an amateur botanist involved with the Protea Atlas Project at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, but has latterly developed an interest in Ericas. He works in the Information Technology (IT) industry and did the programming for the Erica Identification Aid package. He may be contacted at nigel@worldonline.co.za.

AWS ‘Dolf’ Schumann (1918–2001) took many of the photographs initially used in the Erica Identification package. These were copied by Fritz Volk from the book, ‘Ericas of South Africa’, and permission was kindly granted by Dolf just before he died for their use in the original package. These are now being replaced gradually due to the dotted state of the printed versions. The originals, housed in the Compton Herbarium at Kirstenbosch, cannot be accessed from among the many thousands of Dolf’s slides due to labour and time constraints.

David Small (1939–2010) suggested that the European Ericas be included in the Erica Identification Aid and in so doing, provide a more complete coverage of the world’s Ericas. He was President of the British Heather Society at the time.

Dr Charles Nelson provided information on and photographs of European Ericas and useful comments on the whole program. He is Registrar of cultivar names for the Heather Society and with David Small painstakingly built up a valuable database of all known Erica names whether currently in use, or the thousands of old synonyms from the early literature. This includes hybrids and cultivars.

Prof. Tony Rebelo provided many comments, suggestions and encouragement during the development of the Erica Identification Aid package. He headed up the Protea Atlas Project and is now engaged in research in threatened species at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa, including iSpot and now iNaturalist

SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute) Staff of the Research Centre at Kirstenbosch have been very supportive of the project. The IT section assisted Fritz Volk by providing initial computer tools which were later superseded by a more sophisticated runtime tool. The Compton Herbarium, Kirstenbosch, gave permission for photographs to be taken of the Erica specimens by Fritz Volk and kindly backed the original launch of the CD Version 1.

Many additional photographs have been taken by Ted Oliver for Version 3 and 4. We are very appreciative of photographs provided for this Erica Identification Aid by wildflower enthusiasts: John Oakes(†), Ross Turner, Jan Vlok, Mario Martinez-Azorin, Nigel Forshaw, David Osborne(†), Mike Pirie, Berit Gerhke, Adam Harrower, PieterBester, Mervyn Lotter, Wickus Leeuner, Thys de Villiers, Adrian Mohl, Georg Miehe, David Small(†), Charles Nelson, Alan Hall, Benny Bytebier, Janos Podani, Ralph Clark, Corinne Merry, Petra Wester, Jenny Potgieter, Stefaan Dondeyne, Gavin Schafer, Wesley Berrington, Doug Euston-Brown, Ashley Harvey, Ann Symonds and some anonymous persons. Version 1 allowed for only one photograph per species but a great improvement has been made with Version 3 and 4 in allowing us the opportunity to include many photographs per species—habitat, habit and various close-up shots. This will be a long-term, ongoing process with additions, and also replacements with better photographs, being made in each new version of the package. We ask anyone with good Erica photographs to submit them for inclusion in the next versions of the Identification Aid.

Scans of the vouchers for a DNA project of the three species from Réunion were kindly provided by the Réunion Herbarium.

Useful Publications, both popularand technical (1965 to date)

  • HA Baker & EGH Oliver (1967). Ericas in South Africa pp 180.
  • Dolf Schumann & Gerhard Kirsten, in collaboration with EGH Oliver (1991). Ericas of South Africa pp 272.
  • Inge & Ted Oliver (2000). Field guide to the Ericas of the Cape Peninsula pp 145.
  • EGH Oliver (2000). “Systematics of Ericeae; species with indehiscent and partially dehiscent fruits” in Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium 19: 1–483.
  • EGH & IM Oliver (2000). “Ericaceae” in P Goldblatt & JC Manning, eds: “Cape Plants, a Conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa” Strelitzia 1: 423–452.
  • EGH Oliver & IM Oliver (2003). “Ericaceae” in G Germishuisen, & NL Meyer, eds, “Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist” in Strelitzia 14: 424–451.
  • EGH Oliver, HP Linder & JP Rourke (1983). “Geographical distribution of present-day Cape taxa and their phytogeographical significance” in Bothalia 14: 427–440.
  • LJ Dorr & EGH Oliver (1999). New taxa, names, and combinations in Erica (Ericaceae-Ericoideae) from Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. Adansonia 21(1): 75–79.
  • HJ Beentje (2006). “Ericaceae” in Flora of Tropical East Africa 1–29.
  • F Friedmann (1981). “Ericacées” in Flore des Mascareignes 112: 1–13.
  • R Ross (1983). “Ericaceae” in Flora Zambesiaca 7, 1: 157–181.
  • EC Nelson & DJ Small (eds) (2000). International register of heather names. Vol 1 (European species), parts1-4, 612 pages. The Heather Society.
  • EC Nelson & DJ Small (eds) (2005). International register of heather names. Vol 2 (African species), parts1-4, 660 pages. The Heather Society.
  • EC Nelson (2011). Hardy heathers. Kew Monograph Series. (deals in detail with all the European species)

Useful Publications, all technical (pre1965)

  • F Guthrie, H Bolus & NE Brown (1905/6). “Ericaceae” in Flora capensis 4: 2–418.
  • H Dulfer (1965). “Revision der südafrikanischen Arten der Gattung Erica L.” in Annalen des Natürhistorisches Museums, Wien 68: 25–177.
  • RA Salisbury (1802). “Species of Erica” in Transactions of the Linnean Society 6: 316–388.
  • HC Andrews (1794– ± 1828). Coloured engravings of heaths. 4 volumes.
  • HC Andrews (‘1804’–‘1809’) [1805–1828]. The Heathery; or a monograph of the genus Erica. 6 volumes.
  • G Bentham (1839). “Erica” in AP De Candolle’s Prodromus plantarum 7: 580–733.

Source: Erica electronic key acknowledgements V4 2018

Publicado el 10 de julio de 2021 a las 10:05 AM por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario