Erica leucotrachela is one of many Erica species that grow high up on the mountain peaks of the Kogelberg Mountains.
This very attractive plant forms a strongly branched bush, which grows to a height of about 1.5 m. The two-toned tubular flowers are borne on short lateral branches. The base of the corolla is crimson and the tip a pure, velvety white. The tip widens towards the mouth, but is constricted around the anthers. The corolla is 15-20 mm long and the anthers are muticous (anthers without appendages), or have very small awns. It flowers from May to October.
This cloud-loving species is found on the major peaks between Rooi-els and the Palmiet River . It grows above the mist belt, that is, higher than 600 m above sea level. It is endemic to Betty's Bay. The conservation status of this plant is not listed.
Derivation of Name
The genus name Erica comes from the Greek word ereike meaning to break, because an infusion of certain heath plants was supposed to help break up kidney stones, the species name is split in two, leuco meaning white and trachelos meaning throat.
The shape of the anthers and colour of the corolla suggest that it is pollinated by birds.
Growing Erica leucotrachela
This erica grows best in moist, cool conditions. Plant amongst Restio dispar, Osmitopsis asteriscoides and other moisture-loving plants. It will also grow well in a pot for display purposes, just ensure that the soil medium is acidic and can hold some moisture.
It grows well from seed. For optimum germination results, treat seed with smoke treatment before sowing. Water lightly. Once germinated, seedlings can be fed with an organic seaweed-based fertilizer, which will strengthen the root system.
- Goldblatt, Peter and Manning, John, 2000. Cape Plants A Conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa, published jointly by National Botanical Institute and Missouri Botanical Garden
- Schumann, D., Kirsten, G. & Oliver, E.G.H. 1992. Ericas of South Africa. Fernwood Press, Vlaeberg, Cape Town.
Harold Porter NBG