Heather – Calluna vulgaris


From the bonny bells of heather,
They brewed a drink Lang Syne
Was sweeter far than honey
Was stronger far than wine.

R.L. Stevenson

Heathers Latin name is taken from two words together meaning a common plant used to clean or sweep. And the named was given for good reason, as the twigs were once used to make brooms. The branches are also said to have been used to make baskets, rope, bedding, and as thatch for roofs. The roots acted as pegs in the building process. A Heather thatched roof was said to last a 100 years. The woody branches were (and in some areas still are ) use as fire wood in the home!

Before the time of hops being used in beer making Heather was used to brew beers and teas. In the old Victorian language of plants the Heather is known to symbolize admiration and good luck. It was also used in magic for its protective powers.

In 1772 the botanist Dugald Carmichael turned to the heather to obtain a yellow for his paintings of plants. The old crofters also used heather to dye their wool. It produces a nice yellow and when indigo is added it will become a good green. If a more mossy green was desired gall apple and an iron mordant were used toward the end of the dying process.

Heather has been used for centuries to heal sores of all kinds. Also used to heal insect bites, snake bites, eye infections, infections of the spleen and in preventing the formation of stones in internal organs.


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