Cross-leaved heath

Cross-leaved Heath

©Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Cross-leaved Heath

©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Cross-leaved heath

Scientific name: Erica tetralix
Cross-leaved heath is a type of heather that likes bogs, heathland and moorland. It has distinctive pink, bell-shaped flowers that attract all kinds of nectar-loving insects.

Species information


Height: up to 30cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Cross-leaved heath is a type of heather that gets its name from the distinctive whorls of four leaves that occur along its stems. An evergreen shrub, it prefers acid bogs and wet heath or moorland. It flowers between June and September and attracts many nectar-loving insects, including bees and moths.

How to identify

Cross-leaved heath has pink, bell-shaped flowers clustered at the end of long, branched stems. Grey-green leaves are narrow and sit in whorls of four. It is similar to Bell Heather, but its flowers are larger and sit in a small cluster on one side of the stem.


Widespread throughout the UK, but most abundant in the north and west.

Did you know?

Cross-leaved heath, along with other heathers like Ling and Bell heather, are ideal for wildlife gardens. Plant an ericaceous border (acid-loving plants) and enjoy watching the bees buzz from flower to flower on a lazy sunny afternoon.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts are working to restore and protect our heathlands by promoting good management, clearing encroaching scrub and implementing beneficial grazing regimes. This work is vital if these habitats are to survive; you can help by supporting your local Wildlife Trust and becoming a member or volunteer.