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Erica simii (S.Moore) E.G.H.Oliv.

S. African J. Bot. 53(6): 457 (1987).
Philippia simii S.Moore (1911), Philippia friesii Weim. (1940).
Vernacular names
Transvaal tree philippia, false Transvaal tree heath, white-velvet philippia (En). Vassoura (Po).
Origin and geographic distribution
Erica simii occurs in the Beira area of Mozambique, in neighbouring parts of Zimbabwe, and in a small area in South Africa (Limpopo).
The branches are used as brooms.
Production and international trade
Erica simii is only used and traded locally.
Shrub or small tree up to 5 m tall; branchlets ridged between nodes, densely covered with very short hairs. Leaves in whorls of 3, ascending and often slightly curved outwards, simple; petiole c. 0.5 mm long, with very short hairs on the margins; blade linear to narrowly ovate, 1–5 mm Χ c. 0.5 mm, obtuse, with glands and minute hairs on the margins, otherwise glabrous. Inflorescence a cluster of normally 3, sometimes 6 flowers, at the tips of branchlets. Flowers bisexual; pedicel glabrous, expanded above, 1.5–2.5 mm long; calyx and corolla normally 4-partite, occasionally 3-partite in some flowers; calyx funnel-shaped, ciliate at the margins, otherwise glabrous, with 4 lobes; 3 lobes equal, fused for about Ό their length, triangular, 1.5–2 mm long, usually exceeding the sinus between the corolla lobes, leaf-like at the tips, acute, the 4th lobe usually slightly longer, sometimes much longer and exceeding the corolla; corolla bell-shaped, yellowish green and crimson, 1.5–2.5 mm long, lobes broadly rounded, sinuses narrowly rounded; stamens 8, equalling the corolla, becoming free shortly after anthesis; ovary glabrous, 4-celled, style broadly conical, c. 1.5 mm long, shortly exserted in flower, more strongly exserted beyond the persistent corolla in fruit. Fruit a 4-celled capsule contained within the persistent calyx and corolla; cells 1-seeded.
Erica is a genus of c. 600 species, mostly in the Cape region of South Africa, but extending into tropical Africa (usually above 1000 m altitude) and northwards into Europe.
Erica simii occurs from sea-level up to 2600 m altitude in open woodland and savanna or scattered in montane grassland, on damp sands near the coast and inland often on rocky slopes beside streams or rivers. It occurs in small, dense stands.
Erica simii is only collected from the wild.
Genetic resources and breeding
Erica simii has a rather small area of distribution. It is not known if it is in danger of genetic erosion. In the Zimbabwe Red list it is classified as data deficient.
Erica simii will probably remain of occasional local use only.
Major references
• Oliver, E.G.H., 1987. Studies in the Ericoideae (Ericaceae) VII. The placing of the genus Philippia into synonymy under Erica; the Southern African species. South African Journal of Botany 53(6): 455–458.
• Ross, R., 1983. Ericaceae. In: Launert, E. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 7, part 1. Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, London, United Kingdom. pp. 157–181.
• van Wyk, B.E. & Gericke, N., 2000. People’s plants: a guide to useful plants of southern Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria, South Africa. 351 pp.
Other references
• Coates Palgrave, K., 1983. Trees of southern Africa. 2nd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa. 959 pp.
• Oliver, E.G.H., 1992. Studies in the Ericoideae (Ericaceae). VIII. New combinations for Philippia are made in Erica for the Flora Zambesiaca region. Kew Bulletin 47(4): 665–668.
• L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

• M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
• E.G. Achigan Dako
PROTA Network Office Africa, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Correct citation of this article:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2011. Erica simii (S.Moore) E.G.H.Oliv. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes ΰ fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map wild