Erica coccinea

Family:

Ericaceae

Genus:

Erica

Species:

coccinea – meaning ‘red’ or ‘scarlet’

Common name:

Hangertjies, Vlakteheide

Vulnerability Index Score:

2

1.2m

Throughout the year.

Birds, Re-sprouting, Seeder

Fresh

Least concern

What does the plant look like?

Erica coccinea is a stiff shrub with a single stem and many branches. It grows up to 1.2 metres tall and flowers may be red, orange, yellow or green. Two sub-species (subsp.) occur on the Agulhas Plain: Erica coccinea subsp. Coccinea, which grows in Sandstone soils; and Erica coccinea subsp. uniflora, which grows on Limestone or in coastal sands.

What are the flowers like?

Hanging tube-like flowers grow in threes at the ends of short branches. The flowers are 6-17 mm long and may be smooth or sticky. Flower colour may be red, orange, yellow or green. The male parts of the flower (brown filaments and anthers) hang out of the flower tube. Flowering occurs throughout the year depending on locality.

How does it reproduce?

Erica coccinea is pollinated by Sunbirds. Plants can either be reseeders or resprouters and it is often possible to find both forms in a single sub-population, thus it is important that each form be harvested accordingly. The tiny seeds are released once flowers have dried.

Where is it found?

It grows from the Cederberg in the west, to the Cape Peninsula, Agulhas Plain and the Kamanassie Mountains near George. It grows on sandy flats near the coast and on rocky mountain outcrops throughout this area.

How is it used?

This plant is used in the fresh flower industry.

Conservation

[Red List: Least Concern]

Neither subspecies of Erica coccinea is threatened.