Heather in Bloom

Heather in Bloom, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on the humble heather plant for which Scotland is justly famous. In fact, about half the world’s heather moors are located in Scotland, extending to about four million acres. The plant is in full bloom last week in August and first week in September when the hills and moorlands a layered with a rich purple blanket of  heather flowers.

Here are some interesting facts and information on heather:

  • Botanical name is Ericaceae which is derived from the Greek for heather or heath.
  • Plant is abundant beacuse of high reproductive capacity.
  • Can survive on many soil types.
  • Hardy and resistant to repeated grazing by cattle and sheep.
  • Is managed by burning off the older plants to encourage regeneration.
  • Red deer, rabbits and hares rely heavily on the plant for food.
  • Provides a natural habitat for birds, especially the Red Grouse which feeds on the young shoots.
  • Relatively unaffected by pests.
  • In rural communities heather has long been used for thatching,  fuel,  making brooms, baskets, doormats, floor tiles and rope.
  • More exotic uses include jewellery, paint colourings and dyes.
  • There is also a heather tea and heather honey. Being Scotland, heather has uses in the whisky making industry. The plant also has healing properties.

Overall, a very easy to  manage and versatile plant. Read more on Scottish Heather…