Scientific name Calluna vulgaris – Hypnum jutlandicum heath
Common name Heather – Heath Plait-moss heath
Community code HE2B

 

HE2B: Calluna vulgaris – Hypnum jutlandicum heath     HE2B: Calluna vulgaris – Hypnum jutlandicum heath     HE2B map: Calluna vulgaris – Hypnum jutlandicum heath

Download full pdf synopsis: HE2B

 

Vegetation

This community represents dense, mature expanses of Calluna vulgaris which dominates strongly, resulting in there being few other constant species. Erica cinerea is usually present, as is Potentilla erecta, a near ubiquitous species in Irish heaths. Beneath the dwarf shrub canopy, a bryophyte layer composed mostly of pleurocarpous mosses can be found; Hypnum jutlandicum is chief amongst these, but Rhytidiadelphus loreus and Hylocomium splendens are also frequent. Tufts of Molinia caerulea are frequently encountered but it is seldom plentiful. Occasional species include Vaccinium myrtillus, Deschampsia flexuosa and Eriophorum angustifolium.

 

Ecology

This is mainly a community of the middle altitudes of hills and mountains, primarily heathland where grazing pressure is relatively light. Soils in these instances are relatively well-drained, acidic and infertile. It may also be encountered on deep, bogland peats where there has been extensive turf-cutting and/drainage.

 

Sub-communities

No sub-communities have been described for this community.

 

Similar communities

Calluna vulgaris is at its most abundant in this community. Ulex gallii is far less abundant here than in HE2A and wet heath indicators such as Molinia caerulea and Trichophorum cespitosum/germanicum are not as abundant as they are in the remaining communities of group HE2.

 

Conservation value

Most examples of this vegetation qualify as EU Annex I habitat 4030 Dry heaths. This is on average a moderately species-poor community in terms of plants.

 

Management

These heaths, which often form parts of commonages, may be used as rough grazing land (typically for sheep). Burning may be periodically used across large areas to suppress the dwarf shrubs and encourage grass growth. Overgrazing can also be a problem. Another threat is agricultural improvement.