Calluna vulgaris
Common name: 
Scotch Heather
Scots Heather
ka-LU-na vul-GA-ris
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Evergreen "broadleaf" shrub/ground cover, 4-24 inches (10-60 cm) high, spread of 2+ ft (60 cm), upright branching, dense, leafy ascending branches forming thick mats.  Leaves scale-like, 1-3 mm long, opposite, 4-ranked giving a squarish shape to the shoot.  Flowers rosy to purplish pink, urn-shaped, 6 mm long.  The flowers of Calluna are distinguished from those of Erica (heath) by possessing a colored calyx longer than the corolla, which persists after flowering.
  • Sun.  Prefers acid, sandy, organic, moist, and very well-drained soil.  Little or no fertilizer required.  Drought resistant when established.  Prune back after flowering in spring.  Good for seashore locations.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4        Native to Europe and Asia Minor.  It has been planted in many non-native locations and has become naturalized in parts of the Unites States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in these areas it is increasingly considered a weed with the potential to seriously degrade native ecosystems.
  • Known as the ling of moor and mountains.  The term heather is sometimes only applied to the genus Calluna, of which there is only one species, C. vulgaris.  It has been cultured for centuries and there are reportedly over 700 cultivars, possibly over 1,000.  The three genera commonly called heath and heathers are Calluna, Erica, and Daboecia.
  • calluna: from the Latin, to cleanse; it was used to make brooms;    vulgaris: common
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: south of USDA Hort. Crops Lab. (Orchard Ave. & 35th St.), east side of parking lot.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • flowering branches

    flowering branches

  • flowers and leaves

    flowers and leaves

  • shoots


  • shoots, comparison

    shoots, comparison