Heather

 In Wild Flower of the Week

Heather is one of the best known flowers in upland Scotland. The most widespread is Calluna vulgaris, sometimes called Ling Heather. Its leaves are close in on the stems.  Look also for two species of Erica: E. cinerea, the Bell Heather and E. tetralix, the Cross Leaved Heath. In both the leaves stick outwards. Erica cinerea prefers drier ground, with Erica tetralix usually found in damp patches. All three species have many cultivated forms. Riverside Park in Perth has a new and very extensive collection of heathers.

On the open moor, heather is managed by controlled burning. This results a patchwork of areas with plants in different stages of growth, providing food and cover for Red Grouse and other moorland birds.

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