Herb: Cornish Heath


Latin name: Erica vagans


Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)



Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
75 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
July to
November

Habitat of Cornish Heath:

Heaths in S. Cornwall, rare in Britain but locally common and abundant in Cornwall.

Other uses of the herb:

A dye is obtained from the flowers. No further details. The twigs are used for making brushes, thatching, bedding etc and also as a fuel. A good ground cover plant, though it might need weeding for the first year. It can be clipped in spring to give denser growth. Space the plants about 60cm apart each way.

Propagation of Cornish Heath:

Seed - surface sow in an acid sandy compost in a cold frame in spring. Keep moist. Prick out the plants as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them in their permanent positions when they are 5 - 8cm tall. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 3cm long taken from twiggy lateral growths near the base of the plant, July/August in a frame. Remove the leaves from the bottom part of the stem without causing any damage to the bark. The cuttings root in a few weeks if they are given some bottom heat. Plant out in spring. Layering in spring or autumn. Plants can be "dropped" and then dug up and divided about 6 - 12 months later. Dropping involves digging up the plant and then replanting it about 15 - 20cm deeper in the soil to encourage roots to form along the stems.

Cultivation of the herb:

Heaths in S. Cornwall, rare in Britain but locally common and abundant in Cornwall.

Medicinal use of Cornish Heath:

None known

Known hazards of Erica vagans:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.