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Native Plant Trust: Go Botany Discover thousands of New England plants

Family: Ericaceae — heath family

Species in the Ericaceae may be herbs or shrubs, often with evergreen, simple leaves. The leaves typically grow alternately along the stem, but in some species may be opposite from each other or whorled. Some species of Ericaceae may lack chlorophyll, getting their nutrients instead from fungi growing along their roots. Flowers may be solitary but usually occur in arrays with various arrangements. The flowers are actinomorphic (radially symmetrical), 4- to 5-merous, and usually have both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts. The petals may be fused together into a bell- or urn-shaped tube; in some species the sepals and petals attach below the ovary, in others above it. Some species have no sepals and a few have no petals. There are usually 8 to 10 stamens and 1 ovary. The fruit can be a dry capsule or a fleshy berry or drupe. Species formerly treated in the Empetraceae, Monotropaceae, and Pyrolaceae are included in this family.

This family’s genera in New England

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key