Alpine and subalpine ericoid heaths

Description (English)

Dwarf-shrub vegetation dominated by ericoids and other woody species such as Dryas octapetala and Loiseleuria procumbens (but not Juniperus or genistoids) occurring in high mountains throughout Europe, varying in dominants and associates according to regional climate, degree of exposure and snow lie, soil reaction, soil depth and moisture.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code S2-2

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Indicator species

Diagnostic species
Constant species
Dominant species
Flowering Plants Vaccinium uliginosum
Flowering Plants Loiseleuria procumbens
Flowering Plants Rhododendron ferrugineum
Flowering Plants Juncus trifidus
Fungi Cetraria islandica
Flowering Plants Dryas octopetala
Flowering Plants Hieracium alpinum
Flowering Plants Homogyne alpina
Conifers Juniperus communis subsp. alpina
Flowering Plants Festuca airoides
Flowering Plants Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum
Flowering Plants Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Flowering Plants Avenula versicolor
Flowering Plants Vaccinium myrtillus
Flowering Plants Rhododendron myrtifolium
Flowering Plants Campanula alpina
Flowering Plants Phyteuma hemisphaericum
Flowering Plants Potentilla aurea
Flowering Plants Agrostis rupestris
Flowering Plants Leontodon pyrenaicus

Diagnostic species occur concentrated in the habitat in question, but are absent or rare in other habitats. They are good positive indicators of the habitat, but they do not need to occur in every location of the habitat.

Species scientific name English common name Species group
Vaccinium uliginosum Flowering Plants
Loiseleuria procumbens Flowering Plants
Rhododendron ferrugineum Flowering Plants
Juncus trifidus Flowering Plants
Cetraria islandica Fungi
Dryas octopetala Flowering Plants
Hieracium alpinum Flowering Plants
Homogyne alpina Flowering Plants
Juniperus communis subsp. alpina Conifers
Festuca airoides Flowering Plants
Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum Flowering Plants
Vaccinium vitis-idaea Flowering Plants
Avenula versicolor Flowering Plants
Vaccinium myrtillus Flowering Plants
Rhododendron myrtifolium Flowering Plants
Campanula alpina Flowering Plants
Phyteuma hemisphaericum Flowering Plants
Potentilla aurea Flowering Plants
Agrostis rupestris Flowering Plants
Leontodon pyrenaicus Flowering Plants
Flowering Plants Vaccinium myrtillus
Flowering Plants Vaccinium uliginosum
Flowering Plants Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Flowering Plants Deschampsia flexuosa
Flowering Plants Calluna vulgaris
Flowering Plants Homogyne alpina
Fungi Cetraria islandica
Flowering Plants Rhododendron ferrugineum
Flowering Plants Juncus trifidus
Conifers Juniperus communis subsp. alpina
Flowering Plants Loiseleuria procumbens
Flowering Plants Nardus stricta
Flowering Plants Dryas octopetala
Flowering Plants Potentilla erecta
Mosses & Liverworts Hylocomium splendens
Flowering Plants Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum

Constant species occur frequently in the habitat, but they may include generalist species that are also frequent in other habitats.

Species scientific name English common name Species group
Vaccinium myrtillus Flowering Plants
Vaccinium uliginosum Flowering Plants
Vaccinium vitis-idaea Flowering Plants
Deschampsia flexuosa Flowering Plants
Calluna vulgaris Flowering Plants
Homogyne alpina Flowering Plants
Cetraria islandica Fungi
Rhododendron ferrugineum Flowering Plants
Juncus trifidus Flowering Plants
Juniperus communis subsp. alpina Conifers
Loiseleuria procumbens Flowering Plants
Nardus stricta Flowering Plants
Dryas octopetala Flowering Plants
Potentilla erecta Flowering Plants
Hylocomium splendens Mosses & Liverworts
Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum Flowering Plants
Flowering Plants Vaccinium myrtillus
Flowering Plants Vaccinium uliginosum
Flowering Plants Calluna vulgaris
Flowering Plants Loiseleuria procumbens
Flowering Plants Dryas octopetala
Flowering Plants Rhododendron ferrugineum
Flowering Plants Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum

Dominant species are those that often reach high cover in the habitat, thus determining the habitat physiognomy.

Species scientific name English common name Species group
Vaccinium myrtillus Flowering Plants
Vaccinium uliginosum Flowering Plants
Calluna vulgaris Flowering Plants
Loiseleuria procumbens Flowering Plants
Dryas octopetala Flowering Plants
Rhododendron ferrugineum Flowering Plants
Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum Flowering Plants

Other classifications

Not available For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types

History

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type Comment
EUNIS Habitat Classification 2007 (revised descriptions 2012) F2.2 Evergreen alpine and subalpine heath and scrub narrower split
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200410 F2.2 Evergreen alpine and subalpine heath and scrub same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200308 F2.2 Evergreen alpine and subalpine heath and scrub same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200202 F2.2 Evergreen alpine and subalpine heath and scrub same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199910 F2.2 Evergreen alpine and subalpine heath and scrub same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199811 F3.2 Alpine, subalpine and boreal heaths and dwarf-shrub mats same
EUNIS Habitat Classification 199712 F3.2 Alpine and boreal heaths and dwarf-shrub mats same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 199905 31.4 Alpine and boreal heaths same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1997 31.4 Alpine and boreal heaths same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1996 31.4   same
Palaearctic Habitat Classification 1993 31.4   same
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1991 31.4   same
CORINE Biotopes Classification 1989 31.4   same
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