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Blue Heath

Phyllodoce caerulea

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ericaceae (Heath)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, mountains, rocky places.

Purple, 5 petals
5 fused purplish petals which form a bell shape. The nodding, long-stalked flowers are slender and exist together in small terminal clusters of 2 to 6. The flowers are shallowly lobed. The flowers fade to a bluish-pink as they age. 8 to 10 stamens. Similar to Bell Heather (Erica cinerea).
The fruit is a reddish-brown capsule, about 4mm long.
A dwarf undershrub with short linear leaves, up to 1cm long. The leaves are rough-edged and white-downy on the undersides. Found on rocky moorland.
Other Names:
Blue Mountain Heath, Mountain Heather, Purple Mountain Heather.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Phyllodoce caerulea, commonly known as "Mountain heather" or "Blue heath", is a species of evergreen perennial shrub that is native to the mountains of Western North America, specifically in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. It typically grows to be about 60 centimeters tall and has small, bell-shaped, blue or purple flowers that bloom in the late summer or early fall. The leaves are evergreen and needle-like, with a glossy texture. The species is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscaping, it is also used for erosion control on rocky soils and for wildlife habitat restoration. It is tolerant of poor soils, dry conditions and cold temperatures, and is often used in rock gardens and on slopes.


Blue Heath, also known as Phyllodoce caerulea, is a stunning flowering plant that belongs to the Ericaceae family. This beautiful plant is native to the alpine and subalpine regions of western North America, where it can be found growing in rocky areas, along stream banks, and in open forests.

The Blue Heath plant typically grows to be around 30-60 centimeters tall, and it features small, narrow leaves that are dark green in color. The plant produces clusters of bell-shaped flowers that are a striking blue-purple hue, and these blooms typically appear in early to mid-summer.

One of the most notable features of the Blue Heath plant is its adaptability to harsh growing conditions. This plant is well-suited to high-altitude environments and can thrive in areas where other plants struggle to survive. It is able to do this thanks to its extensive root system, which allows it to access nutrients and moisture deep within the soil.

The Blue Heath plant is also important from an ecological perspective. It serves as a valuable food source for a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Additionally, the plant's foliage provides shelter and nesting sites for small animals and birds.

For those interested in growing Blue Heath, it is important to note that this plant prefers well-drained soil and a cool, moist environment. It is typically propagated by seed or by dividing mature plants in the spring or fall. While it can be challenging to cultivate in some regions, the Blue Heath plant is a rewarding addition to any garden or landscape.

In addition to its beauty and ecological importance, the Blue Heath plant has also been used for medicinal purposes by indigenous peoples of North America. The plant contains compounds that have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory issues and digestive problems.

Blue Heath, also known as Phyllodoce caerulea, is a highly adaptable plant that can grow in a range of soil types and climatic conditions. It is commonly found in alpine and subalpine areas of western North America, from Alaska to California. This plant is known for its stunning blue-purple flowers, which are shaped like bells and grow in clusters at the end of stems.

The Blue Heath plant is a popular choice for rock gardens, as it thrives in rocky soil and can add a splash of color to otherwise drab landscapes. It is also a valuable addition to wildflower meadows and alpine gardens, where it can attract a range of pollinators.

In addition to its beauty, the Blue Heath plant is also an important part of the ecosystem. It provides food and shelter for a variety of animals, including small mammals, birds, and insects. The plant's root system helps to prevent erosion and stabilize soil in areas prone to landslides.

In terms of cultivation, Blue Heath is a relatively low-maintenance plant. It prefers well-drained soil and a cool, moist environment, but can tolerate some drought once established. This plant can be propagated by seed or by dividing mature plants in the spring or fall. It is important to note that Blue Heath is a slow-growing plant, and may take several years to reach maturity.

The Blue Heath plant has a rich history in traditional medicine. Indigenous peoples of North America used various parts of the plant to treat a range of ailments, including respiratory issues, stomach problems, and skin irritations. Today, extracts from the plant are still used in some herbal remedies.

The Blue Heath plant is a stunning and versatile plant that is well-suited to a range of garden and landscape settings. Its beauty and ecological importance make it a valuable addition to any space, while its adaptability and low-maintenance nature make it a practical choice for gardeners of all skill levels.

Blue Heath, or Phyllodoce caerulea, is a plant that has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples of North America for its medicinal properties. It was used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory issues, digestive problems, and skin conditions. The plant contains several compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it useful in treating infections and reducing inflammation.

Research has shown that extracts from the Blue Heath plant can be effective in treating respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma. It has also been found to have antioxidant properties, which can help protect the body against cellular damage caused by free radicals.

In addition to its medicinal uses, the Blue Heath plant has also been used for dyeing wool and other fibers. The plant contains natural pigments that produce a range of colors, including yellow, orange, and red.

Blue Heath is also a valuable plant for reclamation and restoration projects in areas that have been disturbed by human activity. Its deep root system helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, while its ability to grow in harsh environments makes it well-suited to restoration projects in alpine and subalpine regions.

Overall, the Blue Heath plant is a versatile and valuable plant that has a rich history in traditional medicine and a range of other uses. Its beauty, adaptability, and ecological importance make it a worthwhile addition to any garden or landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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