categoryZShrubs Shrubs List
categoryZEvergreen Evergreen List

CORNISH HEATH

Erica vagans

Heather Family [Ericaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

category
category8Shrubs
category
category8Evergreen
status
statusZnative

flower
flower8pink
or
flower
flower8lilac
or
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8beetroot
anthers
inner
inner8red
stigma
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
type
typeZspiked
 
type
typeZbell
 
stem
stem8ribbed
 
rarity
rarityZrare
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

19th July 2020, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall. Photo: © Samantha Crosswood
The many varied Heath plants on the Lizard Penisula. But your Author cannot spot this particular species in the photo.


19th July 2020, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall. Photo: © Samantha Crosswood
The Lizard Peninsula is renown for the serpentine rocks which give rise to the acid soils there where Cornish Heath thrives - but it grows nowhere else natively in the British Isles. (Of course, there are many cultivars of it for planting in gardens).


19th July 2020, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall. Photo: © Samantha Crosswood
Cornish Heath (occupying 2/3rds of the frame on the right - those on the left are of differing species of Heath). It has the accolade of being the Floral Emblem of Cornwall and grows mostly on the Lizard Peninsula. It is also a very rare [RRR].


19th July 2020, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall. Photo: © Samantha Crosswood
A straggly shrub growing to a height of up to 80cm.


19th July 2020, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall. Photo: © Samantha Crosswood
The flowers are bell-shaped with 4 rounded lips from which the 8 beetroot-red anthers protrude. The single style is pink with a tiny red discoidal stigma. (The red-flowered plants behind are a differing species of Heath)


19th July 2020, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall. Photo: © Samantha Crosswood
The leaves are in whorls of 4 or 5, between 5 and 10mm long and needle shaped (linear) with a half-round cross-section.
The stems are 'ribbed' (the leave attachments extend a little way down the stem, until the next leaf-whorls begin. The flowers at the top have not yet opened, and are in pale shades of white to yellow to pink


Not to be semantically confused with : Cornish Bugle (Ajuga genevensis), Cornish Bell-flower (Campanula alliariifolia), Cornish Moneywort (Sibthorpia europaea) or ornish Elm (Ulmus minor ssp. angustifolia) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

It grows on the acidic coastal serpentinic rocks on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall and almost nowhere else. It is said to be the commonest rare plant in Britain, but it is absent from anywhere else.

It is hairless and grows to 80cm high with flowers which are bell-shaped, pink to lilac (sometimes white). The corolla 2.5 to 3.5mm long with a style which protrudes out. The needle shaped leaves in whorls of 4 (to 5) are dense and occur throuout the flower spike, with some below the spike. The 8 anthers also protrude beyond the opening of the corolla in a large circle and are a deep red in colour.


  Erica vagans  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Ericaceae  

Distribution
 family8Heather family8Ericaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Erica
Erica
(Heaths)

CORNISH HEATH

Erica vagans

Heather Family [Ericaceae]