1. Bot. (a) A low shrub (Erica vulgaris or Calluna vulgaris), with minute evergreen leaves, and handsome clusters of pink flowers. It is used in Great Britain for brooms, thatch, beds for the poor, and for heating ovens. It is also called heather, and ling. (b) Also, any species of the genus Erica, of which several are European, and many more are South African, some of great beauty. See Illust. of Heather.
2. A place overgrown with heath; any cheerless tract of country overgrown with shrubs or coarse herbage.
Their stately growth, though bare,
Stands on the blasted heath. --Milton
Heath cock Zool., the blackcock. See Heath grouse (below).
Heath grass Bot., a kind of perennial grass, of the genus Triodia (Triodia decumbens), growing on dry heaths.
Heath grouse, or Heath game Zool., a European grouse (Tetrao tetrix), which inhabits heaths; -- called also black game, black grouse, heath poult, heath fowl, moor fowl. The male is called heath cock, and blackcock; the female, heath hen, and gray hen.
Heath hen. Zool. See Heath grouse (above).
Heath pea Bot., a species of bitter vetch (Lathyrus macrorhizus), the tubers of which are eaten, and in Scotland are used to flavor whisky.
Heath throstle Zool., a European thrush which frequents heaths; the ring ouzel.