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Edible uses


A tea is made from the flowering stems[1][2]. A kind of mead was once brewed from the flowers and the young shoots have been used instead of hops to flavour beer[3][2].

Unknown part

Material uses

The branches have many uses, including in thatching, as a bedding or a stuffing for mattresses, for insulation, basketry, rope making and for making brooms[4][3][5][6][7][8][9][10].

The dried branches are a good fuel[4][8]. The rootstock can be made into musical pipes[10]. A yellow dye is obtained from the plant[3][6][7]. The bark is a source of tannin[6]. Heather can be grown as a low hedge and is quite useful as an edging to beds. It is fairly amenable to trimming[11].

A useful ground cover plant for covering dry banks[12][13]. The cultivar 'White Lawn' has been recommended[12]. All except the very dwarf cultivars will need trimming each spring in order to keep them compact[14].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Heather has a long history of medicinal use in folk medicine. In particular it is a good urinary antiseptic and diuretic, disinfecting the urinary tract and mildly increasing urine production[10].

The flowering shoots are antiseptic, astringent, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, mildly sedative and vasoconstrictor[3][15][16][17][18][19]. The plant is often macerated and made into a liniment for treating rheumatism and arthritis, whilst a hot poultice is a traditional remedy for chilblains[3][10]. An infusion of the flowering shoots is used in the treatment of coughs, colds, bladder and kidney disorders, cystitis etc[16][19][10]. A cleansing and detoxifying plant, it has been used in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and gout[10]. The flowering stems are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[3]. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Self-centredness' and 'Self-concern'[20].

A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh branches[16]. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and insomnia[16].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover



Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow as soon as it is ripe or in February in a shaded part of the greenhouse[21][22]. Surface sow or only just cover the seed[22][23]. Cold stratification for 4 - 20 weeks aids germination[23]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Cuttings of half-ripe wood 4 - 5cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage[21]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 5 - 7cm with a heel, October/November in a frame. Good percentage[21]. Layering in autumn[21].

Division in spring. Dig up the plant 12 months prior to division and replant it 15 - 30cm deeper in the soil in order to encourage rooting along the stems. When ready to take the divisions, it is just a matter of digging up the plant and cutting off sections of stem with roots on them. These are best potted up and kept in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are well rooted before planting them out in the summer or following spring.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Calluna vulgaris. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a light acid soil and a sunny position[23][24]. Prefers a sunny position but tolerates light shade[25]. Only succeeds if the pH is below 6.5[25]. Prefers a poor peaty soil[5]. Plants are tolerant of fairly dry soils but they dislike prolonged drought[25]. They tolerate wet conditions in the winter[19].

Plants regenerate well from the base after a fire if the heat was not too great, if the fire was slow and intense then new seedlings will quickly become established[25]. Commonly grown in the ornamental garden, there are many named varieties[26][19].

The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to bees, butterflies and moths[3][5][27]. This plant is also an important food source for the caterpillars of many lepidoptera[27].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Calluna vulgaris. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Calluna vulgaris.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Calluna vulgaris
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type

"image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki."image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki."image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


  1. ? 1.01.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
  2. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  3. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  4. ? Mabey. R. Plants with a Purpose. Fontana ISBN 0-00-635555-2 (1979-00-00)
  5. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  6. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  7. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  8. ? Freethy. R. From Agar to Zenery. The Crowood Press ISBN 0-946284-51-2 (1985-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
  10. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Shepherd. F.W. Hedges and Screens. Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 0900629649 (1974-00-00)
  12. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Royal Horticultural Society. Ground Cover Plants. Cassells. ISBN 0-304-31089-1 (1989-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.1 Ceres. Free for All. Thorsons Publishers ISBN 0-7225-0445-4 (1977-00-00)
  16. ? Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  18. ? 18.018.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
  19. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  20. ? 20.020.1 Chancellor. P. M. Handbook of the Bach Flower Remedies C. W. Daniel Co. Ltd. ISBN 85207 002 0 (1985-00-00)
  21. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  22. ? 22.022.1 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
  23. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 3. Thompson and Morgan. (1989-00-00)
  24. ? Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
  25. ? Beckett. G. and K. Planting Native Trees and Shrubs. Jarrold (1979-00-00)
  26. ? 26.026.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  27. ? 27.027.1 Carter D. Butterflies and Moths in Britain and Europe. Pan ISBN 0-330-26642-x (1982-00-00)
  28. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

"image:Calluna vulgaris 1.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

Facts about "Calluna vulgaris"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyEricaceae +
Belongs to genusCalluna +
Functions asGround cover + and Hedge +
Has common nameHeather +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part +
Has edible useSeasoning + and Tea +
Has environmental toleranceMaritime exposure + and High wind +
Has fertility typeBee +, Flies +, Lepidoptera + and Wind +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has hardiness zone4 +
Has imageCalluna vulgaris 1.jpg +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useBasketry +, Besom +, Dye +, Fuel +, Insulation +, Musical +, Tannin + and Thatching +
Has mature height0.6 +
Has mature width0.5 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAntiseptic +, Bach +, Cholagogue +, Depurative +, Diaphoretic +, Diuretic +, Expectorant +, Sedative + and Vasoconstrictor +
Has primary imageCalluna vulgaris 1.jpg +
Has search namecalluna vulgaris + and x +
Has shade toleranceLight shade +
Has soil ph preferenceVery acid + and Acid +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy nameCalluna vulgaris +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Inhabits ecosystem nicheSoil surface +
Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates maritime exposureYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +