Ling: a clean sweep | Nature Notes from Dorset

I used to think heather was just heather; it was not until I moved to Dorset that I discovered there are, in fact, four different species! Actually, when you take the trouble to look at them you can see the differences and identifying each is quite easy.
Whilst bell heather is common in the Purbeck area of Dorset, to the north and east of the Poole basin and across into the New Forest in Hampshire the more dominant species is ling (Calluna vulgaris). At first ling looks like bell heather just coming in to flower because the flowers themselves are not 'bells', they are more tubular and certainly less full than the other heathers. Once in full bloom ling is a delicate shade of mauve whereas the bell heather is a much deeper purple.

Read more: Ling: a clean sweep | Nature Notes from Dorset

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