Skip to main content
Select Source:

heath (in botany)

heath, in botany, common name for some members of the Ericaceae, a family of chiefly evergreen shrubs with berry or capsule fruits. Plants of the heath family form the characteristic vegetation of many regions with acid soils, particularly the moors, swamps, and mountain slopes of temperate regions throughout the world and, to a lesser extent, of tropical and subarctic regions (see heath, in ecology). Many species have attractive blossoms and are consequently popular as wildflowers or, when possible, as cultivated ornamentals, e.g., the rhododendron, azalea, mountain laurel (not a true laurel), trailing arbutus, and heather. The bearberry and madroño are sometimes grown for the shiny, leathery leaves typical of the family. Other species valued commercially for their edible fruits include the blueberry, cranberry, and huckleberry. Wintergreen is the source of a flavoring. Sometimes considered a part of the heath family are the pipsissewa and related perennial herbs and the Indian pipe and related saprophytic (nongreen) plants. The common heather—the heather of Scotland—is Calluna vulgaris, sometimes called ling. Native to Europe and Asia Minor, it is now common also in Greenland and in North America. Its multiple branches have been used for brooms. The names heath and heather are often used interchangeably. Although both are somewhat similar low evergreen shrubs of the Old World, heather has short, scalelike, overlapping leaves and a profusion of long-lasting rosy flowers; the true heaths (genus Erica) have needlelike leaves and white, rose, or yellow flowers. Species of this large genus are characteristic of vast moor areas in W Europe and, especially, South Africa and the Mediterranean area. The root of the tree heath (E. arborea), called also bruyère, brier, brierroot, French brier, and other names, is the major source of brier pipes (see Saint-Claude). Heather and a few species of heath are grown as ornamentals; cultivated forms of heather usually have red to purple flowers of a deeper shade than those of the wild types. Other plants of similar habit, particularly those of the same family, are sometimes also called heath or heather. Heath is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Ericales, family Ericaceae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"heath (in botany)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"heath (in botany)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/heath-botany

"heath (in botany)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/heath-botany

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

heath

heath Any of various woody evergreen shrubs of the genus Erica, found in Europe, Africa, and North America. They generally have bell-shaped blue or purple flowers. Family Ericaceae. The term also applies to land that supports heath.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"heath." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"heath." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/heath

"heath." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/heath

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

heath

heath2 plant of the genus Erica. OE. hǣð = OS. hēth(i)a, (M)LG., (M)Du. heide, OHG. heida (G. heide) :- WGmc. *χaiþjō; f. prec.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"heath." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"heath." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/heath-2

"heath." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved February 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/heath-2

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.