categoryZShrubs Shrubs List 
categoryZEvergreen Evergreen List 

BELL HEATHER

Erica cinerea

Heather Family [Ericaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

category
category8Shrubs
category
category8Evergreen
status
statusZnative
flower
flower8purple
 
flower
flower8white
sometimes
inner
inner8red
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
type
typeZspiked
 
type
typeZbell
 
stem
stem8round
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

10th Aug 2009, Headon Hill, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
Bell Heather is a more purple to reddish colour than is the pale-purple colour of Heather aka Ling.


22nd Aug 2007, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
These fells are covered in two differing heathers/heaths: Heather (which is bluer) and Bell Heather (redder)


22nd Aug 2007, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
One of the gorses (deep yellow) is also present amidst the heathers. Bell Heather prefers a dryer less moist soil than does Ling aka Heather.


31st Dec 2006(?), Mottistone, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill
Bell Heather is an evergreen shrub growing to 60cm high. Bracken interloper in evidence here.


14th July 2007, Bouldnor, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Mike Cotterill


1st July. unknown place Photo: © RWD


1st July. unknown place Photo: © RWD


22nd Aug 2007, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are usually on short upright to drooping stalks in an upright, loosely populated, spike of flowers.


22nd Aug 2007, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are shaped like a nearly closed bell, with short recurved petals. When mature the stigmas protrude from the opening.


22nd Aug 2007, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
The styles are discoidal on the end of the stigma.


22nd Aug 2007, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
The corolla is 4 to 7mm.


8th June 2007, the fells, near Glenridding, Lake Dist. Photo: © RWD
Sometimes the flowers are just at the top of the stem in umbel-like clusters.


8th June 2007, the fells, near Glenridding, Lake Dist. Photo: © RWD
An umbel-like cluster of flowers at the summit. The 5 sepals are long, narrow and taper to a blunt tip. These flowers have not yet opened up slightly, and the 4 petals are mostly still pointing forwards. Some flowers are still closed at their tips.


5th Aug 2005, above Grindleford, Peak Dist. Photo: © RWD
The tips of the flowers have opened and the 4 petals are now starting to recurve backwards.


8th June 2007, the fells, near Glenridding, Lake Dist. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are in whorls of three up the stem (with clusters of shorter leaves at their base).


22nd Aug 2007, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
The leaves in small clusters up the stem.


8th June 2007, the fells, near Glenridding, Lake Dist. Photo: © RWD
The reader might just about be able to find the 3 longer leaves at the base of shorter clusters of leaves. Here they have red tips. The leaves are rolled over beneath their top surface making them loom narrower and thicker than what they really are.


23rd Aug 2012, nr Hayburn Wyke, Scarborough coastline. Photo: © RWD
Here both Heather (which prefers a wetter soil) and Bell Heather (which prefers a drier soil) are growing together on a sloping bank. At the top of the bank is Broom which is not yet in flower.


22nd Aug 2007, Great Orme, Llandudno. Photo: © RWD
Here growing amidst Heather and Gorse beneath some rocky outcrop.


Not to be semantically confused with : the very poisonous Belladonna aka Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), nor with Bellflowers such as Giant Bellflower (Campanula latifolia), Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), Honeybells (Nothoscordum borbonicum), Coral-bells (Heuchera micrantha), Golden-bell (Forsythia suspensa), Chilean-bellflower (Nolana paradoxa) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families]

Some similarities to : Cross-Leaved Heath (Erica tetralix) which usuakly has tight clusters of pink-red flowers at the summit of a stem with leaves in whorls of four (rather than in whorls of 3 for Bell Heather).

Slight resemblance to : other Heaths such as the very rare Cornish Heath (Erica vegans) which is abundant only on the Lizard Peninsula.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

Bell Heather is the next most common Heather/Heath to Heather (Calluna vulgaris) which is in a differing genus.

It grows mostly on dry heaths and moors wherever they may occur throughout the British Isles but is not found in large tracts of Central England. Near the coast it may be found in dune slacks and dune heaths (the latter are rare in the UK - there is one near Freshfield on the Sefton Coast).

The leaves are 4 to 8mm long and needle-like (mainly because they are incurled).

Bell Heather provides a lot of nectar and is visited by bees to make Heather Honey (other heathers will do as well, but Bell Heather is more abundant than those).


  Erica cinerea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Ericaceae  

Distribution
 family8Heather family8Ericaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Erica
Erica
(Heaths)

BELL HEATHER

Erica cinerea

Heather Family [Ericaceae]