The Mediterranean Heather (Erica multiflora)
Between now and January, many Mallorcan hillsides are 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.
According to the Herbario Virtual del Mediterráneo Occidental, the plant is called Bruguera or Brezo in Castellano, and is known in Catalan as Bruc d’hivern, Cepell, Ciprelló, Peterrell, Xipell or Xiprell.
As always, the plant is useful in a variety of ways. Bees love it and produce a very special honey from the Mallorcan Erica multiflora 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. The heather is used as one of the 38 Bach Flower Remedies.
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.
The heather is used in rituals to call positive spirits and energy. Heather flowers can be carried for good luck and protection. Heather blossoms are associated with beginnings and self-discovery.
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.