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Erica cinerea - Bell Heather

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Ericales - Family: Ericaceae

Bell heather on moorland

With its bold pinkish-purple flowers, this is one of the most striking of the various wild heathers. Bees and many other insects are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Bell Heather.

Description

Bell Heather has dark-greed narrow leaves in whorls of three. The bell-shaped flowers are borne in clusters that wrap around the stems, unlike the one-sided clusters that are a characteristic of Cross-leaved Heath, with which it is sometimes confused. Plants grow up to 50cm in height.

Habitat

This short heather species prefers drier heaths and moorland; it is sometimes found on the fringes of sparse woodland where plenty of light pierces the canopy, while the slopes of upland lakes are often covered with Bell Heather.

Erica cinerea on a woodland edge

Distribution

Bell Heather is a plentiful species throughout most of the UK except for the East Midlands region of England. This member of the family ericaceae is native to central and western Europe.

Flowering times

The first flowers of Bell Heather appear in May, and the plants continue to bloom until the end of September.

Erica cinerea

The Bell Heather plants shown on this page were photographed during June and July in Ceredigion, west Wales, and on Anglesey, North Wales.


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