Revision Notes

Calcifuges and Calcicoles

Calcifuge – (n) a plant which grows only or mainly on acidic soil.

A calcifuge is a plant that does not tolerate alkaline (basic) soil. The word is derived from the Latin, meaning ‘to flee from chalk’, and these plants are also sometimes known as Lime-haters, or ericaceous plants.

Examples include: rhododendron, azalea, camellia, magnolia and erica.

Sample Plant List



Japanese Maple – Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’

Camellia – Camellia japonica ‘Lavinia Maggi’

Witch Hazel – Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Pallida’

Pieris – Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’

Mimosa – Acacia dealbata

Full-moon maple – Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’

Camellia – Camellia japonica ‘Nobilissima’

Golden saxifrage – Chrysosplenium davidianum

Lantern tree – Crinodendron hookerianum

Tufted hair grass – Deschampsia cespitosa

Tree Fern – Dicksonia squarrosa

Winter Heath – Erica carnea ‘Myretoun Ruby’

Siberian Iris – Iris sibirica ‘Ruffled Velvet’

Switch ivy – Leucothoe ‘Scarletta’

Lily – Lilium nepalense

Sweet gum – Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’

Tulip tree – Liriodendron tulipifera

Lily-turf – Liriope muscari ‘Monroe White’

Magnolia – Magnolia ‘Butterflies’

Purple Moor Grass – Molinia caerulea subsp. Arundinacea ‘Transparent’

Mondo grass – Ophiopogon japonicus

Persian Ironwood – Parrotia persica

White spruce – Picea glauca var. albertiana ‘Conica’

Lily-of-the-valley – Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’

Evergreen azalea – Rhododendron ‘Gumpo White’

Hybrid rhododendron – Rhododendron ‘Lavender Queen’

Calcicole – (n) a plant which grows only or mainly on calcareous soil.

A calcicole plant is one that thrives in soil rich in lime, for example, a chalky soil. The word is derived from the Latin ‘to dwell on chalk’ and these plants are often referred to as Lime-lovers.

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