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A low, spreading shrub from 1 to 21⁄2 ft high, becoming ultimately 5 ft or more wide, and rather sprawling; branchlets glabrous. Leaves arranged four or five in a whorl; the whorls 1⁄6 in. or less apart on the stems; linear, 1⁄8 to 1⁄2 in. long, channelled beneath, dark green and glabrous. Flowers produced usually in pairs from the leaf-axils, each on a glabrous stalk 1⁄3 in. long, the whole forming an erect, leafy, cylindrical raceme 4 to 7 in. long, the flowers opening from below upwards from July to October. Corolla almost globular, about 1⁄8 in. long, pinkish purple, the four lobes but little recurved; sepals ovate; anther-cells free from one another to the base, pink, rarely yellow.
Native of Cornwall and S.W. Europe. A showy and very attractive shrub in late summer and autumn, useful for planting on sunny slopes, and in broad masses. It is easily raised from cuttings, and thrives well in almost any soil not heavy or limy. Like the other late-flowering heaths it should be cut over occasionally in spring before growth recommences, removing all that part of the shoot that has borne flowers. This keeps the plants neater and causes them to flower more profusely, but done too often reduces the size of raceme.
† cv. ‘Valerie Proudley’. – Foliage yellow in summer, becoming pale yellow or silvery yellow in winter. Flowers white, not freely borne in some gardens. Put into commerce in 1968.