The Heather plant
The Common Heather is a member of the Ericaceae family. The low-growing bush reaches 20 to 50 cm in height and can live for 40 years. The tiny, indeciduous leaves grow in four lines.
The pink flowers consist of a membranous calyce with a very small corolla. Each flower has 8 stamens with a pistil that juts out. In mountainous areas, the long-lasting Common Heather flowers can be found in early August and a little later in low-lying areas.
The Common Heather prefers acidic or sandy soil, and is resistant to freezing temperatures. It provides little if any pollen and only a moderate amount of nectar (0.15 to 0.58 mg per flower per day). The sugar concentration averages 23% to 54%. The nectar secretion seems to be better when the flowers first bloom. In an area of about 2.5 acres, nectar production ranges from 100 to 200 grams in good conditions.
The presence of flowers is not always synonymous with honey. Nectar production requires a temperature of about 20°C and humidity.
Even though this honey is produced at the end of summer, it’s best not to allow the bees to stock their hives with Common Heather Honey. It’s difficult for them to digest and can be the cause of intestinal trouble.
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