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a family of dicotyledonous plants comprising low evergreen shrubs or (rarely) semishrubs, lianas, and trees. Leaves are usually alternate; flowers are bisexual and sometimes single, although more often formed in umbellate, racemic, or panicular inflorescences. There are four or five each of sepals and petals—rarely, the number is as high as eight each. The corolla is usually brightly colored, and the fruit is boll-like or drupelike. There are about 50 genera and 1,750 species inhabiting both hemispheres, from the arctic deserts to the tropics. In the USSR, 21 genera and over 50 species are found. There are some ornamentals (such as species of rhododendron, erica, and the strawberry tree). Among the wild Ericaceae, the most widespread are Korean rhododendron, heather, butterbur, and bearberry. Micorhiza often form on the roots of Ericaceae; for this reason the plants are able to grow on nitrogen-poor boggy or sandy soils. Sometimes the bilberry family is considered part of the Ericaceae family.
REFERENCESBush, E. A., and A. N. Poiarkova. “Vereskovye.” In Flora SSSR, vol. 18. Moscow-Leningrad, 1952.
Takhtadzhian, A. L. Sistema i filogeniia tsvetkovykh rastenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV