genera/3350 spp., cosmopolitan, but not in deserts and in the tropics
usually montane. Shrubs and trees, sometimes lianes or subherbs, mycorrhizal,
and often on acid soils. Leaves simple, often evergreen and with adaptations
for minimizing water loss ("Ericoid"),
usually spirally arranged. Stipules absent.
K (5); C 5 or (5). A10, anthers dehiscing by pores or (sometimes) slits, pollen grains in tetrads except where petals also free. G(5), superior to inferior, developing into a berry, capsule (loculicidal or septicidal), or drupe.
Predominantly north temperate in distribution, but with greatest diversity in southern Africa, the Andes, the Himalayas and China (Rhododendron), and New Guinea.
Judd et al. 1999, pp. 351-354.
|In North America and Europe Ericaceae are commonly found in bogs such as kettle bogs (left; Byron Bog, London ON) and blanket bogs (right; Liffy Bog, S of Dublin, Eire - Prof. D. L. Kelly for scale). In these habitats Ericaceae are by no means the only plants present (just as bogs are by no means the only habitat in which Ericaceae are found). The high water table favors the growth of the moss Sphagnum, and this in turn results in the acidity of these habitats. Low pH in turn reduces both microbial activity (leading to the accumulation of peat) and nutrient availability (so that some bog plants rely on trapping insects for additional nutrients). For more information about bogs, visit the super site set up by E. M. Temsch.|
|Ericaceae subfamilial (phenetic) classification (Mabberley 1997)|
|Rhododendroideae||well-developed, flat; some with revolute margins||usually terminal||anther and filament appendages absent, ovary superior, developing into septicidal capsule||in tetrads with viscin threads|
|Ericoideae||scale- or needle-like, very revolute ("ericoid")||variable in position||anther and filament appendages present in some, ovary superior, developing into loculicidal capsule||viscin threads absent|
|Vaccinioideae||well-developed, flat||variable||anther and filament appendages present, ovary inferior or superior, developing into loculicidal capsule or berry||viscin threads absent|
|Monotropoideae||scale-like, achlorophyllous (as is the entire plant)||terminal||anther and filament appendages absent or present in some, ovary superior, developing into loculicidal capsule or berry||in monads|
|Pyroloideae||well-developed, or scale-like||terminal||anther and filament appendages absent, ovary superior, developing into loculicidal capsule|
|Ericaceae phylogenetic results (redrawn using MacClade 4.0 from Judd et al. 1999 Figure 8.106)|
Click on the clade names in order to visit pages illustrating clade members (use your browser's BACK button to return here)
Ontario native genera of Ericaceae include:
The Flora North America treatment of the Ericaceae (Tucker (and others) 2009) is available HERE:
L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz
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