Ericaceae subfam. Ericoideae
Handbuch 1 602. 1829. (as Ericeae)
Subshrubs, shrubs, or trees, multicellular hairs present; bark smooth or furrowed, not flaky (peeling or shredding in Menziesia). Stems erect to decumbent, sprawling, creeping, trailing, prostrate, or procumbent. Leaves deciduous or persistent, usually alternate, sometimes opposite, whorled, or spirally arranged; petiole usually present; blade plane or acicular, abaxial groove present or absent. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, fascicles, racemes, panicles, capitula, cymes, umbels, corymbs, spikes, or solitary flowers; perulae present or absent; bracts much shorter than sepals (sometimes absent). Flowers bisexual or unisexual, erect or pendulous, usually radially or bilaterally symmetric; sepals (2-)4-5(-7); petals absent or (2-)4-5(-7), connate or distinct, corolla deciduous or persistent, campanulate, salverform, rotate, saucer-shaped, funnelform, cylindric, or urceolate, (with pockets holding anthers until they open in some Kalmia), lobes shorter than tube; intrastaminal nectary disc present; stamens (2-)5-10; anthers dehiscent by lateral pores or slits; ovary (2-)5-10-locular; placentation axile (parietal distally in Epigaea); style straight or declinate (curved in Elliottia). Fruits capsular, dehiscence usually septicidal, sometimes loculicidal or septifragal, or drupaceous, (dry to fleshy), indehiscent. Seeds 2-300, distinct, obovoid, ovoid, or ellipsoid to oblong, linear, fusiform, or planoconvex, winged or not.
North America, Mexico, West Indies (Cuba), Central America, s South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Atlantic Islands, Australia, especially diverse in western Europe and southern Africa.
Genera 18, species ca. 1850 (14 genera, 58 species in the flora).