Heather

Calluna vulgaris

About

Heather is also known as 'Ling' and is an abundant plant on heathland, moors, bogs and even in woodland with acidic or peat soils. Its delicate pink flowers appear from July to October and are a contrast to the tough, wiry, sprawling stems they grow upon. Plants grow tightly-packed together and can live for up to 40 years or even older.

How to identify

The stems of Heather are woody and coarse, sometimes clumped together and close to the ground in exposed areas. The delicate pink flowers grow loosely up the stem and the short, narrow leaves are borne in rows.

Where to find it

Common in the UK and Ireland, but scarcer in the east of England.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Novermber
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Purple-carpeted heaths are an iconic feature of the UK's landscape and are the result of hundreds of years of low-impact human activities such as livestock-grazing and scrub clearance. Yet development and the decline of traditional farming methods have caused many of these precious habitats to be lost - over 80% of lowland heathland in the UK has disappeared in just 200 years. The Wildlife Trusts manage many heathland habitats for the benefit of wildlife; by volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Heather
Latin name
Calluna vulgaris
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 90cm
Conservation status
Common.