Ling Heather -Pink Wildflowers
Ling Heather - one of the three types of heather which we see in the Western Isles.
A really pretty pale pink - mauve heather with dense terminal flower spikes and sepal-like bracts at flower bases.
The tiny lilac flowers are not bell shaped as are the other two heathers that grow here. The plants growing up to 2 feet in height.
Bell Heather - Erica cinerea
The purple or bell heather- Erica cinerea, commences flowering in early June.
This heather likes the dryer places and so grows on rocks or dry moorland. As suggested by its common name the flowers are bell shaped.
Ling Heather -Pinky Purple - Lilac Wild Flowers
Seen All Over The Western Isles, this lovely heather with its pretty pinky purple Spikes of urn-shaped wildflowers are the last of the three types of heather to show their faces in the Hebrides.
It is a woody-stemmed and evergreen shrub which has many branches. It is quite prolific as the branches can take root easily. The branches also have lots of side shoots.
The plant reaches 50 - 60cm in height. This heather prefers acid soils.
Roots of Ling Heather
The roots of ling heather are are surrounded by a mesh of fungal threads growing into the roots. They help the roots in getting minerals and water from the peat in exchange for sugars produced in the leaves of the heather. These are called mycorrhiza.
Ling Heather conserves nutrients on the bog using its evergreen leaves. This means that the plant uses the leaves to make food for more than one year which is why the ling heather is so prolific.
The fact that the ling heather flowers for a long period means of course that it is an excellent source of pollen for the insects. It is very good for the bees and butterflies.
The leaves growing on the branches are 1 - 3 mm. long, stalk-less and grow in four vertical rows. They are oblong and opposite. The leaves are tightly packed together on the side shoots, but more openly spaced on the main branches. The leaves are scale-like in appearance, with the edges curling in, and are dark green in colour, with reddish-brown tips when they are new. The short, narrow leaves are borne in 4 rows along stems
Ling Heather is Used in Wine and Beers - Tea
The flowers of Ling Heather are brewed used in drinks. They are brewed into wine and also used in several ales. The flowers are also used in the production of a kind of "tea" drink..
Ling Heather used in Honey
The heather of course also produces excellent honey
Lifespan of Heather.
Heather has a long lifespan and can live up to 40 years
Heather provides food for sheep, deer, birds, rabbits and hares
For various sheep and deer which can graze the tips of the plants when snow covers low-growing vegetation, the heather is an important food source. Various birds also use heather as a food source including the red grouse which feeds on the shoots, flowers and seeds. The Mountain and Brown Hare need young heather for browsing, they also use heather as a form of cover, the heather making them harder to spot for predators. Rabbits living on moorland also enjoy young shoots.
White Heather For Luck
Just once in a while you can find white Heather - where the flowers are white and it is said that if you find this you are going to be lucky, good luck will follow you. This story or folklore comes from it is said that in Scotland supposedly the pink purple variety had been stained by blood of the Picts and that the white type of heather was not stained and remained pure
Norway National Flower
Heather is Norway's national flower
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|