Calluna vulgaris

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaEricaceaeCallunaCalluna vulgaris


A low shrub, often dominant on heaths, moors and nutrient-poor grasslands, and in open woodland on acidic soils, ranging from dry exposed habitats to wet peat bogs. It can colonise newly available habitats. 0-1040 m (Macgillycuddy`s Reeks, S. Kerry), with a single bush at 1095 m on Beinn a`Bhuird (S. Aberdeen).



World Distribution

European Boreo-temperate element; also in C. Asia and widely naturalised outside its native range.

© S. Hammonds

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 2

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.3

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1157

Height (cm): 60

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary


Life Form - secondary


Comment on Life Form

dwarf shrub



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Clonality - secondary

Shortly creeping and rooting at nodes

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2434

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 905

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 11

Atlas Change Index: -0.64

Weighted Changed Factor: -15

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (194b)
Gimingham CH
1960.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 74. Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull. Journal of Ecology. 48:455-483.
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.