Bell heather Erica cinerea

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’

Common name

Bell heather

Species name

Erica cinerea

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

January – December

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Seaton Cliffs or Grey Hill Grasslands

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