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).
E. cinerea has declined in S. England from loss of heathland habitat, and has disappeared from many former `chalk heath` sites through encroachment of rank grass and scrub following reduction in sheep and rabbit grazing.
Oceanic Temperate element.
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
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
Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 100. Erica cinerea L,
, 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,
, Toulouse, (1962)
Comparative Plant Ecology,
, London, (1988)
Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols,
, Königstein, (1986)
Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols,
, Jena, (1978)