Erica tetralix

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaEricaceaeEricaErica tetralix


A sprawling low shrub found in a very wide range of mires and wet heaths, extending into drier heath in S.W. Britain. It is usually on wet, nutrient-poor organic soils, but can also grow in mesotrophic or eutrophic conditions. Generally from the lowlands to c. 670 m, but reaching 880 m in Coire Etchachan (S. Aberdeen).



World Distribution

Suboceanic Temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 8

Reaction (Ellenberg): 2

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 1


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.4

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1230

Life form information

Height (cm): 60

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary


Life Form - secondary


Comment on Life Form

dwarf shrub



Clonality - primary

Shortly creeping and rooting at nodes

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1962

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 781

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 2

Atlas Change Index: -0.91

Weighted Changed Factor: -12

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 (194c)
Bannister P
1966.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 102. Erica tetralix L. Journal of Ecology. 54:795-813.
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.