Erica arborea
Common Name: tree heath 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Ericaceae
Native Range: Africa, Arabian Peninsula, southern Europe
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-9 where it is best grown in acidic, medium moisture, well-drained, sandy-humusy loams in full sun to part shade. Avoid heavy clay soils. If attempted in St. Louis, plants should be grown in protected areas with roots covered in winter with mulch.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Erica arborea, commonly called tree heath or white heath, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that typically grows to 8-12’ tall, but infrequently to as much as 20’ tall. It is one of the tallest species in the genus Erica. It is native to southwestern Europe, the Mediterranean region and northern Africa. Linear, needle-like, medium green leaves (to 1/4” long) with rolled margins grow in whorls of 3 or 4. Fragrant bell-shaped white to pink flowers in dense pyramidal panicles (to 16” long) bloom in spring. Brier (or briar) smoking pipes are made from burls on the roots of this plant.

Genus name comes from the Latin word erice and Greek word ereike.

Specific epithet means tending to be woody or treelike in form.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Specimen or groups in sunny areas of the landscape.