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The Southern Appalachian Highlands represent a unique geographical region in which to study plants. The Ericaceae, especially well developed in this region, are a family of plants which have long been of interest to man. At the present time there exists no adequate treatment of the Ericaceae of this particular area. The present study, based mainly upon examination of herbarium specimens and supplemented by studies in the field, attempts to correlate these findings with all the scattered published information concerning the genera of this family in the Southern Appalachians. More than 12,000 sheets of specimens from twenty-nine herbaria were examined and annotated with geographical distribution and morphological data recorded. The results of this study are keys, descriptions, habitat and distributional data, flowering dates and pertinent synonomy. A history is given relating to the exploration of the area and experimental research previously accomplished pertinent to the family.