Cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix

Cross-leaved heath is a type of heather that gets its name from the distinctive whorls of four leaves that occur along its stems. An evergreen shrub, it prefers acid bogs and wet heath or moorland. It flowers between July and September and attracts many nectar-loving insects including bees and moths.


Cross-leaved Heath has pink, bell-shaped flowers clustered at the end of long, branched stems. Grey-green leaves are narrow and in whorls of four.


  • Height: up to 30cm




Widespread throughout the UK, but most abundant in the west and north (including Scotland).

When to see

January – December


  • Cross-leaved heath, along with other heathers like ling and bell heather, are ideal for wildlife gardens. Plant an ericaceous border (acid-loving plants) and enjoy watching the bees buzz from flower to flower on a lazy sunny afternoon.
  • In the Hebrides, cross-leaved heather was used as a natural dye in the production of textiles, particularly Harris tweed

Common name

Cross-leaved heath

Species name

Erica tetralix

When to see in Scotland

January – December

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Red Moss of Balerno or Rahoy Hills

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