Heathland Facts



  • Heathland goes under many different names, including scrubland, shrubland and chaparral.
  • Heathlands occur where the soil is too dry or too poor for trees to grow — typically in Mediterranean regions or areas of sandy soil.
  • Many heathlands are not natural, but places where human activity has so changed the environment that trees can no longer grow.
  • The most common heathland shrub is heather. Underneath grasses, sedges and flowers like daisies and orchids grow.
  • Many heathland shrubs like gorse are thorny to stop animals eating them.
  • The maquis are the heathlands of the Mediterranean, dominated by tough evergreen shrubs and small trees.
  • Many maquis plants are aromatic (have a strong scent) — such as mints, laurels and myrtles.
  • Spring blossoms in the mallee heaths of Australia are so spectacular that they are a tourist attraction.
  • Mallee is a kind of eucalyptus tree typical of the area.
  • Chaparral is heathland in California. The climate is Mediterranean, with mild winters and warm summers. The main plants found in this type of heathland are sages and small evergreen oaks.