AskDefine | Define ericaceous

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. In the context of "especially of a plant": Acid-loving, thriving in acidic conditions.
  2. acidic, acid-based
    Camellias thrive when fed with an ericaceous fertiliser.
  3. Of or pertaining to the heath family (Ericaceae)

Extensive Definition

The plant family Ericaceae (also called the heath family or ericaceous plants) are mostly lime-hating or calcifuge plants that thrive in acid soils. Many well-known plants of the Ericaceae live in temperate climates, such as cranberry, blueberry, heath, heather, huckleberry, azalea and rhododendron. However, the family also contains many tropical species.
The Ericaceae family consists of herbs, shrubs and trees with leaves that are alternate, simple and estipulate. Plants in this family are synoecious. Flowers in the family show considerable variability. The corollas are often sympetalous with shapes ranging from narrowly tubular to funnelform or widely bowl-shaped. The corollas are often actinomorhpic but flowers in the genus Rhododendron have flowers that are often zygomorphic.
Recent genetic research by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group has resulted in the inclusion of the formerly recognised families Empetraceae, Epacridaceae, Monotropaceae, Prionotaceae and Pyrolaceae into Ericaceae. Most Ericaceae, except Monotropaceae, Prionotaceae and Pyrolaceae form ericoid mycorrhiza. This symbiotic relationship is considered crucial to the success of members of the family in edaphically stressful environments worldwide (Cairney and Meharg, 2003).



  • Cairney, JWG & Meharg, AA (2003). Ericoid mycorrhiza: a partnership that exploits harsh edaphic conditions. European Journal of Soil Science 54, 735-740.
  • Walters, Dick R. and David J. Keil. Vascular Plant Taxonomy. Kendall\Hunt: 1996, Dubuque
ericaceous in Bulgarian: Пиренови
ericaceous in Catalan: Ericàcia
ericaceous in Welsh: Ericaceae
ericaceous in Danish: Lyng-familien
ericaceous in German: Heidekrautgewächse
ericaceous in Spanish: Ericaceae
ericaceous in Esperanto: Erikacoj
ericaceous in French: Ericaceae
ericaceous in Korean: 진달래과
ericaceous in Icelandic: Lyngætt
ericaceous in Italian: Ericaceae
ericaceous in Hebrew: אברשיים
ericaceous in Georgian: მანანასებრნი
ericaceous in Latin: Ericaceae
ericaceous in Lithuanian: Erikiniai
ericaceous in Hungarian: Hangafélék
ericaceous in Dutch: Heifamilie
ericaceous in Dutch Low Saxon: Heedfemilie
ericaceous in Japanese: ツツジ科
ericaceous in Norwegian: Lyngfamilien
ericaceous in Polish: Wrzosowate
ericaceous in Portuguese: Ericaceae
ericaceous in Romanian: Ericaceae
ericaceous in Russian: Вересковые
ericaceous in Finnish: Kanervakasvit
ericaceous in Swedish: Ljungväxter
ericaceous in Vietnamese: Họ Thạch nam
ericaceous in Turkish: Fundagiller
ericaceous in Chinese: 杜鹃花科
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