Trees usually of small size and high ornamental value. Leaves simple, alternate, mostly evergreen. Flowers perfect, regular, in many-flowered clusters. Fruits, dry capsules or berry-like drupes.
The heath family is world-wide in distribution, consisting of more than fifty genera, with over a thousand species, and modified through centuries of cultivation into unnumbered horticultural varieties. Heaths are perennials, usually woody, with a tendency to profuse and showy bloom. The type of the family is the Scotch heather, immortalised in song and story. A very few genera are represented by tree forms.
In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, when the English first took possession of the Cape of Good Hope, they introduced into England heaths from Australia and South Africa. Their popularity was instant. People went wild over them. They became the dominant feature of the indoor horticulture of the day-the pride of the English gardener. The heydey of these heaths is past. But even now, in London, half a million little potted plants of a single species, Erica hyemalis, are sold each Christmas.
An average plant a foot high bears a thousand tiny flowers, rosy and tipped with white. It is good for a month of bloom, and costs from twenty-five to fifty cents. It is the poor man's Christmas flower. The azaleas, which the Belgian gardeners have brought to such perfection and variety, also belong to this family.
Arizona Madrona Tree
Great Rhododendron or Rose Bay Tree
Mexican Madrona Tree
Mountain Laurel Tree
Sourwood or Sorrel Tree