Scottish Heather
Written and Researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

Scottish Heather (UR - meaning "new." Heather has a renewing property.)

Scottish Heather (Calluna vulgaris) grows in open moorland, hillsides, and heaths. Calluna is from the Greek word kallunein which means to cleanse. This is because heather brooms were used to sweep out cottages, in early Scotland. Heather was also used for rope, thatching, and aromatic bedding. The word heather is thought to have come from the Scottish word haeddre. Heather's thin stalks are tough. They bear small purple (Callunas vulgaris), red, white (Callunus alba) and bluish flowers which give off a delicate aroma and bees love their pollen.

Heather is used medicinally to treat nervousness and cardiac palpitations. Walking through a heather-clad moor in the sunshine can brighten the spirits. Heather can alleviate migraines. The Picts brewed a potent ale from Heather. The is also a heather and honey brew. The Gaelic word Fraoch is the word for Heather, but it was also a man's name, meaning "fierce and warlike." Cuchulain had a son named Fraoach. Fraoch is the name of a popular ale in Scotland, and it is ditributed here in the United States.

Heather of all colors can be bunched together and polished to produce colorful and attractive brooches and badges. The stems are dried, and the bark is removed. Then they are dyed various colors using natural dyes. Then they are compressed together and cut into slices. They are then shaped in cabochon shapes and put into a bezel with silver settings. Many of the designs date back to the time of St. Columba and the beginnings of Christianity in Scotland.

Heather is found mostly on the moors of northern Europe. They are important to ecology in the highlands. Many animals and birds use heather for food and cover.

Carmichael's Scottish Heather Cream (my personal favorite and in my own humble opinion BETTER THAN BAILEY'S) and Froach Heather Ale are both made from Heather. Other Scottish Liqueurs are listed <---HERE.

Other Heather Links:

The Heather Society ...Scottish Heather Jewelry


Blamires, Steve. Celtic Tree Mysteries: Secrets of the Ogham. St. Paul, MN.: Llewellyn Publications, 1997.

Paterson, Helena. The Celtic Lunar Zodiac. Boston: Charles E. Tuttle Compnay, Inc., 1992.


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