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The meaning of heather

Heather is the Scottish flower par excellence, its purple buds cover the moors of Scotland and are combined with various symbolic meanings. Heather can represent admiration, beauty and good luck, but it can also be associated with solitude and protection. The meaning of heather changes depending on the color: purple heather is used as a symbol of admiration and solitude, pink heather is a metaphor for good luck while white heather symbolizes protection from danger. Many legends have been invented about the origins of heather and the plant is considered magical since the Druidic era. The bud is also used in bouquets and as an ornament during weddings, as it symbolizes purification, fidelity, romance and favorable fate.

History and symbology


Heather is native to the northern regions in particular it is found in the wild in: Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, Russia and North America. Heather is known for its hardiness and the ability to thrive in dry areas, such as rocky soils, withstanding even extreme temperatures. Due to these characteristics, in ancient times, it was commonly used in daily life for covers, bed linen, fuel and for weaving baskets, brooms and ropes. The Druids used heather brooms to purify their altars and this is probably the reason for its meaning of good luck in the Scottish islands. The Druids also used it as the ancestor of hops in the production of mead. However, they were unaware that a hallucinogenic mushroom grew on the leaves of heather which contributed, perhaps,

Myths and Legends


One of the best known legends about heather is of Druidic tradition and tells the story of Oscar and Malvina. Legend has it that Ossian, a famous Celtic leader, had a daughter named Malvina, who was betrothed to the warrior Oscar. Soon Oscar left for battle but one day, while Malvina and her father were walking on the cliffs, a messenger brought them the terrible news: her beloved had fallen in the war. The messenger handed Malvina a bunch of heather, her warrior’s last gesture of love. The lady ran up the hill, crying animatedly, but when her tears hit the ground, the heather petals turned from purple to white. Malvina blessed those flowers and exclaimed that whoever picked them would have an excellent luck.

Erica meaning: Curiosity


Over the centuries, different uses have been found for the heather plant, it was used as a fragrant and bouncy mattress, proof of this use was found in an excavation of a village in Orkney. The beds made with heather were built following an instinct of primordial aromatherapy, since the flowers were positioned in the direction of the head, so that their scent was perceived by those who slept. The purplish color of the heather was used to dye the fabric and is still the color of traditional Scottish clothing today. The flower also has medicinal properties that help in the treatment of digestive disorders, nervousness, asthma and insomnia. Last but not least, heather is used to create soaps, candles and perfumes.

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