‘Tresco Abbey’ (=Erica verticillata)

A small, rounded shrub, to an average height of 0.6m; to 0.5m broad. Flowers medium pink, tubular, 15mm long, 3mm diameter, arranged in terminal, 3- or 4-flowered (rarely 2-flowered) umbels, on very short lateral branches arranged in whorls. Synflorescences neat, spike-like, each with 3 (sometimes 4) whorls of lateral flowering branches, on thin, erect branches; terminal apex generally, but not always, continuing growth and then much less pronounced. Non-flowering lateral branches greatly elongated, to 14–21cm long, erect, reaching almost up to the apex of the shrub, spirally arranged. Foliage dark green, leaves to 4mm long, spirally arranged.

Origins: accession number 543/06; clone propagated from a plant in Tresco Abbey Gardens, Isles of Scilly, of unknown origin. ‘Tresco Abbey’ is noticeably different from all the other clones as there are no conspicuous flowerbearing stems; flowers are smaller and flowering whorls fewer. Seed sparsely produced.

Being of South African origin the plant is not regarded as hardy in the UK and is preferably grown in a pot, using ericaceous compost, and brought into a frost free, light and airy environment during the winter months.

® E.2012:08  registered by Anthony Hitchcock, Nursery, Plant Collections & Threatened Species Program Manager Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden.