Erica porteri, Erica tenax and Erica thomae

A few observations turned up from Pringle Bay that are purple instead of white (thomae), green (tenax) or purple with white tips (porteri).
So what are they? None of this is helped by Ted Oliver sinking them all into Erica thomae and not recognizing any subspecies or varieties under the species, despite the historical taxonomists regarding them as good species.

So what do we have on iNaturalist?
As it turns out Erica tenax is very well behaved. All our green flowers, which tend to have the widest portion before the tip, and tend to be tall, sparsely branched plants, are on the Kleinmond shale band from Fairy Glen to the golf course, with a few plants on the sandstones above. Rocky outcrops below and the odd rocky patch on the shale band, do have some white Erica thomae, with only a few records of an iffy plants (i.e. white Erica tenax:, &
The electronic Erica key states: longer pedicels (13-16 mm long); corolla 22-30 mm long, green to white.
Erica thomae is by far the most widespread and encompasses all three species. It is a well branched, white flower, widest at the tip of the corolla. It is usually in sandstone rocky outcrops (mainly of the Peninsula formation).
The electronic Erica key states (not very usefully): Leaves 6-nate. Very variable species in shape and colour of the flowers and in length of the pedicels. ... See previous and next entries for variants.
Erica porteri is the issue. The electronic Erica key states: It has short pedicels (4-7mm long); corolla 20--25 mm long, more delicate, dark reddish pink with white mouth; leaves more spreading (up to 90 degrees). Our records from the type locality ( see here ) almost all tend to have a very clear pink with white tip corolla. This form extends eastwards to Harold Porter. However, on the Pringle Bay side, are purple flowers without or with only small white tips. Are these Erica porteri or Erica thomae (or a fourth "variant"). Some of these do not have spreading leaves - and there appears to be overlap between the porteri and thomae colour forms. ( see here ).
This is also part of this set of "fly-glue" Heaths. But it is quite distinct and to the north of E. thomae at Franschhoek Pass and Villiersdorp Mtns. It is quite distinct as red with yellow tips.

The the distributions here:,962558,962560,1035342#13/-34.328/18.925

Clearly, more work needs to be done. A quest: for the Great Southern Bioblitz?

Please help ID these last few straggling observations:

הועלה ב-מרץ 25, 2023 10:50 אחה"צ על ידי tonyrebelo tonyrebelo


The Erica key (Dulfer) says:

.76. peduncles 8mm or longer ... goto 77
76' peduncles shorter than 8mm ... goto 81

.77. largest width of corolla tube nearly in the middle, getting narrower to the apex ... goto 78
77' largest width of corolla tube above middle, near the apex ... goto 79

.78. corolla tube asymetrically bent, at least 3 times as long as broad. Flowers on side branches . Leaves 7-nate. ... Erica tenax

.79. corolla longer than 20mm ... goto 80

.80. leaves mostly 7-nate, 10mm or longer, incurved. Flowers red. Style thicker at lower end. ... Erica thomae
80' leaves mostly 6-nate. Flowers 30mm, tube red, lobes green. ... Erica hibbertia

.81.-96. leaves mostly 6-nate, slightly reflexed, corolla broader on top, lower part pink, upper white ... Erica porteri

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Having added Erica hibbertia to this extremely sticky ("fly trap") group, one wonders if Erica massonii does not belong in this group as well?

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