Did You Know?
Heather (calluna vulgaris) can be found right across northern Europe but the acid, peat soils of eastern and central Highlands of Scotland make it particularly abundant there.
The heather shoots are a favourite food of the red grouse - hence the game birds which are reared on the heather moors.
Heather grouse moors are frequently burnt back to encourage the growth of the young shoots.
The abundant purple flowers can colour an entire hillside in July to October and is an important source of nectar for bees.
Heathers have been cultivated by gardeners for a long time and there is now a wide range available with white flowers as well as a range of red and pink or leaves in various shades of yellow and red. They can also be found flowering at different times of the year - even in winter.
There are also native heaths found in Scotland - "Erica cinerea" has bell-shaped flowers
Heather was introduced by Scottish settlers into North America in the 18th century and now grows wild in some areas there as well as in other parts of the world.
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