|The Ericaceae are mostly shrubs comprising about 125 genera and 3,500 species. The leaves are simple and alternate or sometimes opposite or whorled; stipules are absent. The flowers are bisexual and actinomorphic or sometimes slightly zygomorphic. The perianth is in two whorls, a 4-7 merous calyx of usually connate sepals, and a 4-7 merous corolla of usually connate petals. The androecium has as many, or more commonly, twice as many stamens as corolla lobes or petals. The anthers dehisce by terminal pores and pollen is usually released in tetrads. The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of 2-10 carpels, usually a single style, and a superior or inferior ovary with 2-10 locules, each bearing numerous axile ovules. The fruit is a capsule or berry.
Ericaceous shrubs require an acid soil. If the soil is not sufficiently acid the plants are unable to absorb iron.
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