Erica bodkinii

Scientific name: Erica bodkinii

Author: Francis Guthrie (1831-1899) and Harry Bolus (1834-1911)

Common name: None recorded

Family: Ericaceae

 

Erica bodkinii   

Location

Erica bodkinii is located in bed 205e of the Heath and Heather Garden below the Northern Pavilion, there are also more recent plantings in the African Rock Garden section and opposite the Entry Booth.


Why would you come to a botanic garden? One reason is the opportunity to see plants that are not commonly cultivated. Erica bodkinii in bed 205e of the Heath and Heather Garden below the Northern Pavilion is one such treasure. Usually less than knee high, with beautifully rounded, relatively large white flowers, Erica bodkinii, is surprisingly under-represented in botanical literature and seldom seen in cultivation though it was described in 1905 and has an appealing form.

With about 735 species in the genus Erica it is easy to understand that those with outstanding horticultural merit: the showiest and the easiest to grow, are the plants that find their way into our gardens. Cultivated forms of naturally occurring species often fill the plant nurseries from which we must choose.

As a botanic garden we are able to ‘shop’ widely. The Fernlook Nursery in Hermanus, Western Cape Province, South Africa was our ‘wild collected seed’ supplier with the dormant cargo arriving in February 1997. Since bed 205e was planted out in March 1999 these plants have experienced draught and strong wilds resulting in a few deaths.

It will be interesting to see how well this species continues to perform here and in more recent plantings in the African Rock Garden section and opposite the Entry Booth. Cool, moist slopes and marshy areas of coastal mountains in the southern region of South Africa are this plant’s natural home.