Heath

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heath,

in botany, common name for some members of the Ericaceae, a family of chiefly evergreen shrubs with berry or capsule fruits. Plants of the heath family form the characteristic vegetation of many regions with acid soils, particularly the moors, swamps, and mountain slopes of temperate regions throughout the world and, to a lesser extent, of tropical and subarctic regions (see heathheath,
tract of open land characterized by a few scattered trees, abundant moss cover, and numerous low shrubs, principally of the heath family (see heath, in botany). In high-latitude regions with minimal variation in climate, the undershrub vegetation may persist indefinitely
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, in ecology). Many species have attractive blossoms and are consequently popular as wildflowers or, when possible, as cultivated ornamentals, e.g., the rhododendronrhododendron
[Gr.,=rose tree], any plant of the genus Rhododendron, shrubs of the family Ericaceae (heath family) found chiefly in mountainous areas of the arctic and north temperate regions and also of the mountainous tropics.
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, azaleaazalea
[Gr.,=dry], any species of the genus Rhododendron, North American and Asian shrubs of the family Ericaceae (heath family) that are distinguished by the usually deciduous leaves.
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, mountain laurelmountain laurel,
evergreen shrub (Kalmia latifolia) of the family Ericaceae (heath family), closely related to the rhododendron and native to E North America. The state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, it has leathery leaves and large clusters of spring-blooming
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 (not a true laurel), trailing arbutustrailing arbutus,
 Mayflower,
or ground laurel,
one of the best-loved American wildflowers, said by Whittier to have been the first blossom seen on these shores by the Pilgrims (introduction to "The Mayflowers").
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, and heather. The bearberrybearberry,
any plant of the northern and alpine genus Arctostaphylos of the family Ericaceae (heath family), especially A. uvaursi, a trailing evergreen sometimes cultivated as a ground cover. The small, leathery leaves yield a medicinal astringent and a dye.
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 and madroñomadroño
, tree or shrub (Arbutus menziesii) of the family Ericaceae (heath family), native to the Pacific coast of North America and Mexico. It has glossy evergreen leaves, white flowers, and red berries and is cultivated in warm regions for ornament.
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 are sometimes grown for the shiny, leathery leaves typical of the family. Other species valued commercially for their edible fruits include the blueberryblueberry,
plant of the large genus Vaccinium, widely distributed shrubs (occasionally small trees) of the family Ericaceae (heath family), usually found on acid soil. They are often confused with the related huckleberry.
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, cranberrycranberry,
low creeping evergreen bog plant of the genus Oxycoccus of the family Ericaceae (heath family). Cranberries are considered by some botanists to belong to the blueberry genus Vaccinium.
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, and huckleberryhuckleberry,
any plant of the genus Gaylussacia, shrubs of the family Ericaceae (heath family), native to North and South America. The box huckleberry (G. brachycera) of E North America is evergreen and is often cultivated. The common huckleberry (G.
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. Wintergreenwintergreen
or checkerberry,
low evergreen plant (Gaultheria procumbens) of the family Ericaceae (heath family), native to sandy and acid woods (usually of evergreens) of E North America and frequently cultivated.
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 is the source of a flavoring. Sometimes considered a part of the heath family are the pipsissewa and related perennial herbs and the Indian pipeIndian pipe,
common name for the genus Monotropa and for the family Monotropaceae, low flowering plants of north temperate zones. They are chlorophylless saprophytes with a funguslike appearance.
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 and related saprophytic (nongreen) plants. The common heather—the heather of Scotland—is Calluna vulgaris, sometimes called ling. Native to Europe and Asia Minor, it is now common also in Greenland and in North America. Its multiple branches have been used for brooms. The names heath and heather are often used interchangeably. Although both are somewhat similar low evergreen shrubs of the Old World, heather has short, scalelike, overlapping leaves and a profusion of long-lasting rosy flowers; the true heaths (genus Erica) have needlelike leaves and white, rose, or yellow flowers. Species of this large genus are characteristic of vast moor areas in W Europe and, especially, South Africa and the Mediterranean area. The root of the tree heath (E. arborea), called also bruyère, brier, brierroot, French brier, and other names, is the major source of brier pipes (see Saint-ClaudeSaint-Claude
, town (1990 est. pop. 13,265), Jura dept., E France, in Franche-Comté, at the confluence of the Bienne and Tacon rivers. It is a resort that has a variety of light manufactures.
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). Heather and a few species of heath are grown as ornamentals; cultivated forms of heather usually have red to purple flowers of a deeper shade than those of the wild types. Other plants of similar habit, particularly those of the same family, are sometimes also called heath or heather. Heath is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Ericales, family Ericaceae.

heath,

tract of open land characterized by a few scattered trees, abundant moss cover, and numerous low shrubs, principally of the heath family (see heathheath,
in botany, common name for some members of the Ericaceae, a family of chiefly evergreen shrubs with berry or capsule fruits. Plants of the heath family form the characteristic vegetation of many regions with acid soils, particularly the moors, swamps, and mountain slopes
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, in botany). In high-latitude regions with minimal variation in climate, the undershrub vegetation may persist indefinitely on shallow, peaty soils rather than undergoing succession to the climax vegetation (see ecologyecology,
study of the relationships of organisms to their physical environment and to one another. The study of an individual organism or a single species is termed autecology; the study of groups of organisms is called synecology.
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), e.g., temperate forests. Alpine azalea, bearberry, dwarf birch, and some insectivorous plants are among the additional flora found on north-temperate heaths.

Heath

 

or moor vegetation, a type of vegetation represented by evergreen shrubs and low brushes, predominantly of the family Ericaceae, having stiff narrow leaves. The plants thrive in a cool and moist maritime climate, in poor, strongly podzolized sandy or peat soils. They are found primarily in Europe. They have a limited distribution in North and South America, Africa (Cape Province), and the Falkland Islands; in the USSR they are found along the Baltic Sea coast.

In the heaths of northern and eastern Europe the dominant plant is the heather Calluna vulgaris; Erica tetralix predominates in western Europe, in more moist conditions. They are accompanied by ptarmigan-berry, crowberry, cowberry, whortleberry, bog whortleberry, and others. Common juniper (Juniperus communis) is also frequently found. The soil cover contains many mosses and lichens. In northern Europe heaths are largely secondary growths on the sites of dried-up peat bogs and pine forests destroyed by felling or fire. The areas freed from heaths are easily improved and are used as cultivated lands.


Heath

 

(Erica), a genus of plants of the family Ericaceae. Members of the genus are undershrubs, shrubs, or small trees. Some species of heath strongly resemble heather and are therefore known as true heath. In contrast to heather, the heath’s corolla is much longer than its calyx. About 500 species grow in South Africa. There are about 15 in Europe. In the USSR there are two species. The tree heath (E. arborea) grows only on Cape Pitsunda (on the coast of the Black Sea); the cross-leaved heath (E. tetralix) grows on the coast of the Baltic Sea. This species, as well as the purple heath (E. cinerea), is extensively distributed in the swampy areas of Western Europe. Many species of heath are cultivated as ornamentals. The beautiful dense wood of some species is used in making pipes.


Heath

 

a biogeocenosis that forms primarily where forests are cleared or destroyed by fire. There is a predominance of evergreen undershrubs (in Europe, mainly Ericaceae or Vaccineaceae). A typical plant found in heaths is heather (Calluna vulgaris), which is widely distributed in the coastal regions of Western Europe. Heather prefers cool, humid climates and strongly podzolized acidic soils. Several undershrub and shrub biogeocenoses of southern Africa and South Australia are also called heath.

heath

[hēth]

heath

1. Brit a large open area, usually with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation, esp heather
2. any low-growing evergreen ericaceous shrub of the Old World genus Erica and related genera, having small bell-shaped typically pink or purple flowers
3. any of several nonericaceous heathlike plants, such as sea heath
4. Austral any of various heathlike plants of the genus Epacris: family Epacridaceae
5. any of various small brown satyrid butterflies of the genus Coenonympha, with coppery-brown wings, esp the large heath (C. tullia)

Heath

Sir Edward (Richard George). born 1916, British statesman; leader of the Conservative Party (1965--75); prime minister (1970--74)
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