|E. erigena in flower with gorse (Ulex), Lough Carrowmore, western Ireland|
Erica erigena, the Irish heath, is a species of flowering plant in the family Ericaceae, native to cliffs and heathland in Ireland, southwestern France, Spain, Portugal and Tangier. It is a compact evergreen shrub growing to 75 cm (30 in), with somewhat brittle foliage and deep pink honey-scented flowers in winter and spring. Its appearance in the far west of Ireland, separated from the main Mediterranean populations, suggests a garden escape.
In cultivation, it is often seen as groundcover amongst dwarf conifers. Like others of its kind, it is a calcifuge, preferring an open sunny site with well-drained acid soil. Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- "Great plant picks - Erica erigena". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- Foss, Peter J.; Doyle, Gerard J. "The history of Erica erigena R. Ross, an Irish plant with a disjunct European distribution". Journal of Quaternary Science. Wiley online library. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Erica erigena 'Irish Dusk'". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Erica erigena f. alba 'W.T. Rackliff'". Retrieved 19 June 2013.