Bell heather is found in a variety of harsh habitats including heathland, acidic soils, open woodland and even coastal areas. It particularly likes dry, well-drained soils. The dark purple-pink, bell-shaped flowers appear between July and September, carpeting heathlands and bringing them to life with the buzzing of nectar-loving bees and insects.
Bell heather is distinctive with its dark purple-pink, bell-shaped flowers forming clusters up the stem, and short, dark green needle-like leaves borne in whorls of three.
- Height: up to 50cm
Found throughout the UK and Ireland with the exception of the East Midlands
When to see
January – December
- Bell heather is an important nectar source for all kinds of insects including honey bees, buff-tailed and red-tailed bumblebees, ruby tiger moths and rare silver-studded blue butterflies. The honey that results from bees that feed on heather is dark and fragrant and very popular.
- Erica means ‘heath’ or ‘broom’ in Latin, while cinerea means ‘ash coloured’