Erica × darleyensis
ER-i-ka x dar-lee-EN-sis
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Broadleaf evergreen ground cover/shrub, to 2 ft (60 cm), with equal or greater spread, multistemmed. Similar to Erica carnea, but taller, more vigorous and with better frost hardiness. Leaves needle-like, to 13 mm, in whorls. Flowers white to rose, appear in late fall and may continue until mid-spring (i.e., winter blooming). Many cultivars, plant habit ranges from dense, compact to open and upright, and flower colors range from white to shades of pink and purple.
- Sun. Survives in poor growing conditions, even alkaline soils. Needs good drainage.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 6 Natural hybrid of E. erigena ´ E. carnea. Krüssmann(1976, p. 35) states that the leaves, young branches and flowers of Erica × darleyensis are "not distinguishable from those of the parents, especially on young plants". However, it can be differentiated from its parents because it flowers from November to May and is more vigorous than E. carnea and less than E. erigena.
Several cultivars available, including:
- ‘Furzey’ - magenta flowers, fall and winter blooming (bloom times for mild winter area, e.g., Pacific Northwest [PNW]). A seedling discovered at Furzey Gardens, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, England.
- ‘Kramer's Red’ (syn. ‘Kramer's Rote’) - magenta flowers, bronze foliage in winter, blooms in winter. Developed by Kurt Kramer from a cross between E. carnea ‘Myretoun Ruby’ and E. erigena ‘Brightness’.
- ‘Mediterranean Pink’ - rosy-lavender flowers, winter-spring blooming. Common in the PNW. Apparently the same as ‘Darley Dale’, which was found in Darley Dale Nurseries, Derbyshire, England, in about 1890, and received the Royal Horticulture Society Award of Merit in 1905.
- ‘Mediterranean White’ - pure white flowers, winter-spring blooming. Common in the PNW. Possibly the same as ‘Silberschmeize’, from Germany and introduced in 1939, or even the sport of this cultivar named ‘White Perfection'.
- darleyensis: refers to Darley Dale, Derbyshire, England, where it was raised.
- Oregon State Univ. campus: west side of Gilbert Hall.