Saturday, 17 August 2013

White Heather

Less than a week ago we were quite excited at finding what was only the third example of white cross-leaved heath - see post here - but in wandering the hills of West Ardnamurchan we have never come across what might be called 'proper' white heather.

Yesterday, walking between Swordle and Ockle, we found the first example of white ling, Calluna vulgaris. It seemed to be an integral part of a clump of normally-coloured heather, but its leaves were a distinctly paler green and the flowers white.

White heather is considered very lucky in Scotland.  There are various mythological reasons for this, amongst which is that purple heather was white heather stained by the blood of the Picts, but probably the main reason is that it's so rare.  To keep the luck, we were supposed to pick a spring of it: we didn't.  We have two bushes of cultivated white heather in our garden which we can use for that purpose.

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