Wet heath

Description (English)

Heath with prominent Erica tetralix on shallow, acid, nutrient-poor peats and peaty mineral soils, kept moist for much of the year and often seasonally waterlogged, through the Atlantic and subatlantic lowlands and foothills of Europe. It typically occurs in wet depressions and seepage areas within dry heaths or as a marginal zone around bogs where drainage of deeper peats can increase its extent. In milder oceanic climates, other Erica and Ulex spp. occur in richer humid heath. The habitat is frequently influenced by grazing and sod-cutting.

Source: EUNIS habitat classification

Quick facts

EUNIS habitat type code S41
Relation to Resolution 4 habitat type (used for designation of Emerald sites)

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Indicator species

Diagnostic species
Constant species
Dominant species
Flowering Plants Erica tetralix
Flowering Plants Juncus squarrosus
Flowering Plants Trichophorum cespitosum
Flowering Plants Molinia caerulea
Flowering Plants Calluna vulgaris
Mosses & Liverworts Sphagnum compactum
Flowering Plants Gentiana pneumonanthe

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
Erica tetralix Flowering Plants
Juncus squarrosus Flowering Plants
Trichophorum cespitosum Flowering Plants
Molinia caerulea Flowering Plants
Calluna vulgaris Flowering Plants
Sphagnum compactum Mosses & Liverworts
Gentiana pneumonanthe Flowering Plants
Flowering Plants Erica tetralix
Flowering Plants Calluna vulgaris
Flowering Plants Molinia caerulea
Flowering Plants Potentilla erecta
Flowering Plants Trichophorum cespitosum
Mosses & Liverworts Hypnum cupressiforme
Flowering Plants Juncus squarrosus
Flowering Plants Eriophorum angustifolium
Flowering Plants Drosera rotundifolia
Flowering Plants Carex panicea
Flowering Plants Narthecium ossifragum
Flowering Plants Nardus stricta
Mosses & Liverworts Sphagnum compactum
Mosses & Liverworts Pleurozium schreberi
Fungi Cladonia portentosa
Flowering Plants Eriophorum vaginatum
Mosses & Liverworts Dicranum scoparium
Flowering Plants Betula pubescens
Conifers Pinus sylvestris
Flowering Plants Carex nigra

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
Erica tetralix Flowering Plants
Calluna vulgaris Flowering Plants
Molinia caerulea Flowering Plants
Potentilla erecta Flowering Plants
Trichophorum cespitosum Flowering Plants
Hypnum cupressiforme Mosses & Liverworts
Juncus squarrosus Flowering Plants
Eriophorum angustifolium Flowering Plants
Drosera rotundifolia Flowering Plants
Carex panicea Flowering Plants
Narthecium ossifragum Flowering Plants
Nardus stricta Flowering Plants
Sphagnum compactum Mosses & Liverworts
Pleurozium schreberi Mosses & Liverworts
Cladonia portentosa Fungi
Eriophorum vaginatum Flowering Plants
Dicranum scoparium Mosses & Liverworts
Betula pubescens Flowering Plants
Pinus sylvestris Conifers
Carex nigra Flowering Plants
Flowering Plants Erica tetralix
Flowering Plants Calluna vulgaris
Flowering Plants Molinia caerulea
Flowering Plants Trichophorum cespitosum
Mosses & Liverworts Hypnum cupressiforme

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
Erica tetralix Flowering Plants
Calluna vulgaris Flowering Plants
Molinia caerulea Flowering Plants
Trichophorum cespitosum Flowering Plants
Hypnum cupressiforme Mosses & Liverworts

Other classifications

Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 2007 (revised descriptions 2012) F4.1 Wet heaths same
European Red List of Habitats F4.1 Wet heath same
For relation to plant communities (syntaxa), see Vegetation types
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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