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An evergreen shrub of more or less procumbent habit, apparently usually under 1 ft high; young shoots very slender, glandular-hairy. Leaves linear-ovate, bluntish, averaging about 1⁄4 in. long, made very narrow by the rolling back of the margins, dark green and sprinkled with glandular hairs above, covered with white down beneath; leaf-stalk glandular bristly. Flowers in an erect, very glandular raceme 2 to 3 in. long, carrying four to ten flowers. Corolla roundish egg-shaped, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. long, deep red, nodding, borne on a glandular stalk 3⁄8 in. long. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 46.
Native of the Azores, especially on the islands of Fayal and Pico. It was introduced from the latter in 1929 by E. F. Warburg, and was exhibited in flower from Sir Oscar Warburg’s garden at Boidier, near Epsom, at Westminster, on 7th June 1932. It is nearly akin botanically to D. cantabrica, but the distinct colour of the flowers (which have no purple), the dwarf habit and small leaves distinguish it. It also comes into bloom rather earlier and is less hardy, being damaged or killed in any severe winter.
Spontaneous hybrids between this species and D. cantabrica arose around 1953 in the garden of W. Buchanan of Bearsden, Glasgow, and have been put into commerce by Jack Drake of Aviemore. Of the three clones propagated, No. 3 is considered by him to be the best, and the nearest to D. azorica, from which it differs, however, in its much greater hardiness; the habit is dwarf and the flowers ‘garnet-red’. No. 1 is also distinct and after trial at Wisley was considered to be the better of the two. It has been named ‘William Buchanan’.
The hybrids between this species and D. cantabrica, mentioned in the last paragraph, now have botanical status as D. × scotica McClintock (The Garden (Journ. R.H.S.), Vol. 103, pp. 115-16 (1978)). There are several clones in this group, of low, dense, spreading habit, distinguishable from the two parents by the presence of a few glandular hairs on the corollas (none in D. azorica and abundant in D. cantabrica) and also showing the influence of the former in having shorter leaves and smaller corollas than in D. cantabrica. The type-clone is ‘William Buchanan’, with purplish red flowers. It is very free-flowering over a long period from midsummer onwards and grows to about 10 in. high. Of the other two clones raised by Mr Buchanan, no. 2 has been discarded and no. 3, slightly dwarfer than ‘William Buchanan’ and with garnet-red flowers, has been named ‘Jack Drake’. Other clones of independent origin have been distributed, of which the most distinct is ‘Silverwells’, with white flowers, raised by Mr Duguid at Coldingham, and portrayed in the article cited above.