Original Research

Cape heaths in European gardens: the early history of South African Erica species in cultivation, their deliberate hybridization and the orthographic bedlam

E. C. Nelson, E. C. H. Oliver
Bothalia | Vol 34, No 2 | a427 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v34i2.427 | © 2004 E. C. Nelson, E. C. H. Oliver | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 September 2004 | Published: 03 September 2004

About the author(s)

E. C. Nelson,, United Kingdom
E. C. H. Oliver, Compton Herbarium. National Botanical Institute., South Africa

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This paper discusses the horticultural history of southern African Erica spp. in Europe, and especially in Britain, during the late eighteenth and the early decades of the nineteenth century . We note evidence for the deliberate hybridization of the so-called Cape heaths by European horticulturists, in particular by the English nursery man William Rollisson and by the Very Rev. William Herbert. We discuss some of the nomenclatural consequences of the naming by miscellaneous botanists and nurserymen of the hundreds of new Erica species and hybrids, emphasizing the proliferation of eponyms. An appendix tabulates eponyms and their numerous orthographic variants published before 1835 within Erica, and provides the correct orthography for these epithets.


botanical history. Cape heaths; garden history; hybrids; nomenclature


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