Erica AmpullaceaFlask Heath
- Class and Order
- Octandria Monogynia
- Generic Character
- Cal. 4-phyllus. Cor. 4-fida. Filamenta receptaculo inserta. Antheræ apice bifidæ, pertusæ. Caps. 4-locularis, 4-valvis, polysperma.
- Specific Character and Synonyms
- ERICA ampullacea foliis ciliatis mucronatis, bractæis coloratis, floribus umbellatis subquaternis erecto-patentibus, stylo exserto.
The Erica here figured has some affinity in the form of its flowers to the E. ventricosa, as these in their shape resemble a flask or bottle, especially of that kind in which water is usually kept, we have named it ampullacea; it is of very modern introduction.
On the 11th of June 1784, we had the pleasure to see a small plant of this species in flower, with Mr. Williams, Nurseryman, Turnham-Green, an unwearied and ingenious cultivator of this beautiful tribe of plants in particular, the richness of whose collection will appear in the subsequent list; by him it was raised from Cape seeds, though not more than the height of ten inches, it produced eighteen branches, most of which put forth flowers at their summits; we counted sixty-six blossoms on this small plant.
The leaves are short, linear, somewhat triangular, rigid, edged with fine crooked hairs, very visible when magnified, and terminating in a mucro or point, on the older branches recurved and mostly eight-rowed; each branch is usually terminated by four or five flowers, at first growing closely together, and covered so strongly with a glutinous substance, as to look as if varnished, and which is so adhesive as to catch ants and small flies; as the flowering advances, they separate more widely from each other, and finally a young branch grows out of the centre from betwixt them; the true calyx is composed of four lanceolate leaves, sitting close to and glued as it were to the corolla; besides these, there are several other leaves, which might be mistaken for those of the calyx, but which may with more propriety be called Bracteæ or Floral-leaves; some of these, like the calyx, are wholly red, others red and green mixed together, and broader than the leaves of the plant; the flowers are about an inch and a quarter in length, inflated below, and contracted above into a long narrow neck, dilating again so as to form a kind of knob, in which the antheræ are contained, just below the limb, which divides into four somewhat ovate obtuse segments, the upper side of these segments is of a very pale flesh colour, the under side of them as well as the dilated part just below them bright red, the body of the flower flesh colour, marked with eight longitudinal stripes, of a deeper hue; filaments eight, antheræ within the tube; style projecting about the eighth of an inch beyond the corolla; stigma, a round glutinous head.
The flowers as they decay become of a deeper red colour, and finally pale brown, still retaining their form and appearing to advantage;—hitherto the plant has produced no seeds here, is increased with difficulty either by cuttings or layers, but with most certainty in the latter way.