At the end of summer, on the edges of the pine forests of central Russia, ordinary heather blooms (Calluna vulgaris)... This fragrant and melliferous plant has attracted attention for a long time. Latin name Calluna comes from Greek kallunewhich means "to brush, or brush," as heather twigs were once used to make brooms. The indigenous people of Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, Russia and North America used heather branches to make baskets, ropes, bedding, instead of straw for roofs, and even to flavor beer and tea. Symbolizing admiration and good luck, the plant with rare white flowers was considered a talisman and was used for amulets.
Common heather (Calluna vulgaris) - the only representative of the genus heather (Calluna) families are heather. His homeland is Europe, Northwest Africa, Asia Minor, Siberia. The plant is found in sparse pine forests, on sands, in sphagnum bogs, in the tundra.
It is an evergreen shrub or shrub 0.2–0.7 (1) m high. The leaves are scaly, triangular, sessile, arranged cross-oppositely in 4 rows. The flowers are small, consisting of a 4-part corolla-shaped glossy calyx up to 3.5 mm long and a 4-part corolla up to 2.7 mm long of the same lilac-pink or less often white color. Blooms in August – October. Fruits are capsules with small seeds. Honey plant, decorative in bloom, used as a dried flower. Winter-hardy.
Decorative forms and varieties
Today, there are dozens of common heather varieties. Among them there are varieties with flowers ranging from white and pink to purple. Here are some of the varieties tested in our Research Institute Botanical Garden of Nizhny Novgorod State University. N.I. Lobachevsky.
- ‘Alba ' - erect shrub about 50 cm high, branches diverging. The leaves are bright green. The flowers are simple, white (Photo 309.), in long loose inflorescences, blooms profusely in August – October. Photophilous, winter-hardy.
- ‘Allegro ' - vigorous shrub, about 40-50 (60) cm high (we still have 20 cm), crown up to 50 cm in diameter, compact, dense, shoots grow upward, dark brown bark, dark green leaves, scaly, 2 mm long , 0.7 mm wide. Flowers are simple, carmine-red, in long, little branching inflorescences, blooms in August – September, does not set seeds. Photophilous, winter-hardy.
- ‘Annemarie’ - the variety was obtained by the German breeder K. Kramer in 1973. Shrub 40-50 cm high, crown up to 60 cm in diameter, loose, broadly bushy, dark brown bark, dark green leaves in summer and autumn, gray-green in spring, small, 2 mm long, 0.6 mm wide. The buds are purple-red. Flowers are dark pink, double, in racemose inflorescences up to 20 cm long, very showy, blooms in August-October, does not set seeds. Photophilous, winter-hardy.
- ‘Boskoop ' - variety obtained in Holland in 1967. Shrub about 30-40 cm high, crown with a diameter of up to 40-50 cm, compact, dark brown bark, leaves are yellow-green in summer, copper-orange-red in autumn and winter, the color of young plants is more variable (we still have a red color does not appear). The flowers are simple, lilac-pink, in short (about 10 cm) little branched inflorescences, blooms from August to October, does not set seeds. Winter-hardy.
- ‘Carmen ’ - variety obtained in Holland in 1968. Shrub about 40-50 cm high (we still have 30 cm), the crown is broadly oval or spherical, the bark is dark brown, the leaves are dark green. The flowers are simple, pink-purple, in inflorescences 15–20 cm long, blooms from August to October, does not set seeds. Winter-hardy.
- ‘H.E. Beale ' - shrub about 50 cm high, crown with a diameter of 60 cm or more, loose, widely spreading, shoots grow upward, dark brown bark, gray-green leaves in winter and spring and dark green in summer and autumn. Double flowers, light pink with a lighter middle, in long (up to 20 cm) dense racemose inflorescences. Characterized by abundant long flowering, changing color of flowers (turn white) and leaves. Blooms from August to October, does not set seeds. Winter-hardy.
- ‘Marleen ' - the variety is obtained in Germany. Densely branched shrub about 20-30 cm high, crown 40-50 cm in diameter, dark brown bark, dark green leaves. Blooms from late August to late October, buds do not open, pink-purple or bright purple with a purple tip, seeds are not set. Winter-hardy.
- ‘Roma ' - height 20 cm, dense crown, shortened shoots (2-3 cm long). The flowers are simple, dark pink in short inflorescences 2–3.5 cm long. Blooms from August to October, does not set seeds. Winter-hardy.
- ‘Silver Knigt ' - the variety is obtained in England. Low dense shrub about 20-30 cm high, crown up to 40-45 cm in diameter, compact, cushion-shaped, dark brown bark, silvery-gray leaves, fluffy, with a purple tint in winter. The flowers are simple, light purple or lilac, in inflorescences up to 20 cm long, drooping tops, light-loving, winter-hardy. blooms from August to October, does not set seeds.
- ‘Spring Torch ' - height up to 50 cm (we still have 30 cm), the leaves are light green, the tips of the shoots are golden in spring, the flowers are simple, light pink, in long branched inflorescences up to 8-15 cm long. Blooms from August to October, does not set seeds. Winter-hardy.
Photo by the author