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There’s a Hillside of Heather

Between now and January, you will find many Mallorcan hillsides full of the Mediterranean heather of the Erica multiflora variety. The evergreen plant grows in abundance in Garrigues and pine woodlands. Now in the Autumn its spectacular and delicate pinkish flowers open, all clumped at the end of the branches.

As always, the plant is useful in a variety of ways. Bees love it and produce a very special honey from the Erica plant. Heather flowers and plants have been gathered for centuries to be made into herbal medicines. Heather tops were infused and used as a tonic to treat consumption, coughs, nerves, depression and heart complaints. Heather tea, liniments and ointments were used to help treat arthritis and rheumatism. Folk medicine considers the plant effective as a remedy for hyperlipidemia and in helping to reduce cholesterol. In mediaeval times it was thought that the plant could dissolve gallstones. In Mallorca, the plant’s wood is used in the process of furniture making and for producing tools. The rootstock can be made into musical pipes.

We will celebrate a wedding reception tomorrow, and we shall be having the Erica multiflora as part of our table decorations. Hence the photo.

The photo (top) was taken near Felanitx, Spain. The date: October 28th, 2010. The time was 14:04:22. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of herbarivirtual.uib.es.

Muchas gracias.

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