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

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

Clonality - secondary

Shortly creeping and rooting at nodes

Distribution information

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%)


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 (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.