Ajuntament de Barcelona

Phylica ericoides

Joan Brossa Garden

    English name: 
    Heath phylica
    Species characteristics
    South Africa
    Coastal mountainsides, dunes and deep sands

    Perennial very ramified and compact shrub 0.6-1 m tall. It has thin branches that are slightly covered by a short light grey down.

    The leaves, 5-8 mm long, are simple and alternate. They have a short petiole and are very near the ones to the others. Their shape varies from lanceolate to linear, with an obtuse or slightly pointed apex and a rounded or heart-shaped base. The margins are rolled inwards almost covering all the leaf's surface, which is often rough and usually smooth. The upper side is tomentose.

    The greenish white flowers have a very pungent honeyed fragrance. They are very tiny (1.5-2 mm long) and appear into dense capitula (inflorescences in which the peduncle makes a disk that is surrounded by bracts) at the branches's tip. They are bell-shaped and composed of a calyx 0.5 mm long, sepals 0.75 mm deeply covered by white curved hairs and petals 0.5 mm.

    The fruits are ovoid purplish brown capsules up to 4 cm long. They are slightly depressed on the top and dehiscent (they open spontaneously to release the seeds).

    Flowering time: 
    Any time
    Uses and properties: 

    Ericoid hard-leaf is very popular amongst florists, used as a filler.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name, Phylica ericoides, consists of the genus name Phylica, coming from the Greek word φυλλον, “leaf, foliage”, alluding the dense top of the plants of this genus, and the Latin term ericoides, coming from erica, “heather”, and the sufix –oides, “resembling, similar to”, alluding the similarity of this plant with the heathers.