Information on Bell Heather

Common Name: Bell Heather
Scientific Name: Erica cinerea
Irish Name: Fraoch Cloigíneach
Family Group: Ericaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Bell Heather could sometimes be confused with:

Heath, Cross-leaved,

This short, hairless, evergreen undershrub is a much loved sight on hills, moorland and dry acid soils. Blooming from June to September, the bell-shaped, pink/purple flowers are 5-6mm long and occasionally white. The 'bell' in fact is four petals fused together.  Bell Heather's leaves are narrow, dark-green – sometimes bronzy - and in whorls of 3 up the stems. This is a native plant and belongs to the family Ericaceae.

I first identified this in Glendalough Co Wicklow in 1976 and photographed it in Ballybraid, Co Wicklow in 1996 and 2007.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Heather, Bell
Heather, Bell

Although heather can be found growing in the wild in many variations of purple/red, it is considered to be lucky to find heather with white flowers.

All heathers have been much used over the centuries, from bedding material, brooms, fuel, baskets, thatching, to food for sheep.  Also used as flavouring for beer, it is well known to give flavour and colour to honey