Heather

Latin name: Calluna vulgaris

Family: Ericaceae (Heather family)

The vivid sight of purple heather is an iconic characteristic of British heathland environments and the uplifting sight of heather can often be seen dominating the views of the moors between July and September.

Heather is also known as 'ling' and is a native evergreen dwarf shrub with flowers that range from purple to white.

The plant has many historic uses, many of which are still relevant today. It has been used to produce a yellow dye for wool and the woody stems have been used to make brooms. In Scotland, the flowers are used like hops to make heather ale and heather honey is a major constituent of the whisky liqueur Drambuie.

In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, heather is a major component of heathland habitats. It can be seen on the tops of the moors where it grows alongside a range of other dwarf shrub species such as bilberry and bell heather. The greatest concentrations of these habitats are in the northern and south eastern areas of the National Park.

Heather is usually pollinated by bees and other insects but in the most northerly sites it can also be wind pollinated.

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Wharfedale in Yorkshire is a valley favoured by nature and enriched by romance. From 'Wharfedale' by Ella Pontefract & Marie Hartley

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