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Cross Leaved Heath: spot the difference

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Cross Leaved Heath: spot the difference

All Dorset heather may look the same at first but after a while you will notice that some of the heather is much paler in colour, a true pink, rather than the deep purple of the familiar bell heather. On closer examination you will find that the pink heather only has a few 'bells' clustered around the top of each stem. This is because it is cross leaved heath (Erica tetralix) rather than bell heather. When not in flower the arrangement of the leaves can be used to distinguish between this species and the other common heathers. 

While bell heather likes the dry areas, cross leaved heath likes damper, almost boggy, acid soils of the heaths. Flowering in June, a bit earlier than bell heather, cross leaved heath is a common flower of damp heathland right through until September.

So, not all heathers are 'heather'!


 

If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 2 years 1 week ago

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