Erica arborea Fr: Bruyère Arborescente
The photos show the Tree Heath in full bloom in early spring, from the Maures in the Alpes-Maritimes. The Esterel mountains along the coast as well as the inland hills of Beyond are covered with the bushes.
Tree Heath (or Tree Heather), a typical plant of the maquis, is a shrub or small tree. Growing often to 3 m, it's one of the tallest European members of the genus Erica.
The tree heath has very dense, upswept branches, and the younger stems are covered in white woolly hairs. The white bell-shaped flowers with reddish-brown anthers grow in dense clusters and are nicely scented.
Practical. The roots were (are still?) used to make "briar" pipes, the word deriving from the French 'Bruyère' (heather). Much loved by honey bees!