Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Wednesday wildflower: Spanish heather

Erica lusitanica is quite invasive, and it seems to do particularly well on clay soils in Wellington.  The epithet lusitanica strictly refers to Portugal, but I guess the species is more widespread than that, so its common name isn't inaccurate.
Erica lusitanica, Messines Road, Karori, Wellington.
They're straggly and untidy plants, yet up close, Erica lusitanica has a pretty hanging flower that starts out pink and fades to white.
Flowers of Spanish heather.

Weed or wildflower, it does at least provide a habitat for the native bag moth.
Bag moth larva, on Erica lusitanica.

Erica is, of course, in the family Ericaceae.  Also in that family: Rhododendron, blueberries, and the native Dracophyllum.

A cultivated Rhododendron, Wellington.
Dracophyllum strictum, cultivated
Dracophyllum scoparium, Campbell Island.

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