Erica cinerea

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaEricaceaeEricaErica cinerea


This small shrub occurs on thin, acidic, peaty or mineral soils in well-drained situations, on dry heaths, and as an occasional undershrub in open-canopy Pinus sylvestris or Quercus woodland. It is found in some calcareous grasslands that are leached and acidic at the surface (`limestone heath`). 0-790 m (Purple Mountain, S. Kerry); a report from 1220 m in the Grampians is very doubtful (Preston & Hill, 1997).



World Distribution

Oceanic Temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Dwarf shrub heath (cover of dwarf shrubs at least 25%)

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 2

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1226

Life form information

Height (cm): 60

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary


Life Form - secondary


Comment on Life Form

dwarf shrub



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1999

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 712

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 13

Atlas Change Index: -0.94

Weighted Changed Factor: -9

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (195a)
Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 100. Erica cinerea L,
Bannister, P.
, Journal of Ecology, Volume 53, p.527-542, (1965)

La flore atlantique européenne. Documents pour les cartes des productions végétales serie Europe-Atlantique, vol. 1,
Dupont, P.
, Toulouse, (1962)

Comparative Plant Ecology,
Grime, J. P., Hodgson J. G., and Hunt R.
, London, (1988)

Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols,
Hultén, E., and Fries M.
, Königstein, (1986)

Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols,
Meusel, H., Jäger E., Rauschert S., and Weinert E.
, Jena, (1978)