Scientific name Calluna vulgaris – Molinia caeruleaErica cinerea heath
Common name Heather – Purple Moor-grass – Bell Heather heath
Community code HE2D

 

HE2D: Calluna vulgaris – Molinia caerulea – Erica cinerea heath     HE2D: Calluna vulgaris – Molinia caerulea – Erica cinerea heath     HE2D map: Calluna vulgaris – Molinia caerulea – Erica cinerea heath

Download full pdf synopsis: HE2D

 

Vegetation

This community is typically dominated by bushes of Calluna vulgaris but tufts or small tussocks of Molinia caerulea are also plentiful. These are accompanied by Potentilla erecta and both Erica cinerea and Erica tetralix. There are few other vascular plants, with the sedges Eriophorum vaginatum, Eriophorum angustifolium and Trichophorum cespitosum/germanicum being only occasional. The bryophyte layer is largely pleurocarpous in character, with Hylocomium splendens, Rhytidiadelphus loreus, Hypnum jutlandicum and Pleurozium schreberi occurring, but crimson patches of Sphagnum capillifolium are also frequently encountered here.

 

Ecology

This is a community of the lower to middle slopes of hills and mountains, primarily wet heathland where soils are rather poorly drained, acidic and infertile.

 

Sub-communities

No sub-communities have been described for this community.

 

Similar communities

Molinia caerulea is more abundant in this community than elsewhere in group HE2. In the Molinia-dominated communities of group HE4, Calluna vulgaris is usually sub-ordinate and Erica cinerea is much less frequent.

 

Conservation value

Most examples of this vegetation qualify as EU Annex I habitat 4010 Wet heath. This is on average a moderately species-poor community.

 

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. Other threats are agricultural improvement and afforestation.