Description: Evergreen or deciduous shrubs (scandent, viney, trees), epiphytic or not, or (echlorophyllous) herbs (rhizomatous); hair roots present, with investing fungal hyphae forming a Hartig net; indumentum a mixture or unicellular and multicellular hairs, or unicellular hairs only (glabrous); terminal bud scaly (naked) or aborting.
Leaves spiral, opposite or whorled, entire or serrate (margins strongly revolute and leaves needle-like ["ericoid"]), estipulate.
Inflorescences terminal or axillary (flowers single), usually racemose; flowers usually conspicuous, hermaphroditic (functionally unisexual), polysymmetrical (bisymmetrical), bracteoles 2 or several (0); sepals (2-)4–5(-7), fused at the very base; petals (3) 4–5(-7), fused (fused as a cap; free); stamens (2-)5, 8, 10(-16), free from the corolla (adnate); anthers tetrasporangiate, inverting during development, with 2 (4) apparently terminal or dorsal appendages or not, dehiscence introrse or terminal (latrorse, extrorse), pores or short (long) slits, endothecium lacking (present), pollen in tetrahedral tetrads (monads); nectary present (absent); ovary superior to inferior, (1-)4–5(-12)-carpellate, placentation axile to intruded parietal (apical, basal), ovules (1-)8/carpel, anatropous to subcampylotropous, unitegmic, tenui¬nucellate; style usually about as long as corolla, hollow (expanded at the apex), stigma punctate to lobed.
Fruit a berry, drupe, or capsule (calyx fleshy); seeds small to minute, testa usually single-layered, variously winged or not; embryo straight, fusiform (embryo minute, undifferentiated), endosperm cellular, fleshy, well developed, with haustoria at both ends; germination epigeal.
Distribution and occurrence:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Ericaceae, Order: Ericales)
Text by From Kron et al. (2002) Phylogenetic classification of Ericaceae: molecular and morphological evidence. The Botanical Review 68: 335-423.
Taxon concept: Kron et al. 2002.
Taxa not yet included in identification key