Heath (Erica arborea), also called white heath or tree heath, found in S France and the Mediterranean region. Its roots and knotted stems are used for making briarwood tobacco pipes. Its leaves are needlelike and its flowers almost white. The term brier also applies generally to any plant (as of the genera Rosa, Rubus, and Smilax) with a woody and thorny or prickly stem.
1. n. (also briar) any prickly bush esp. of a wild rose. Phrases and idioms: brier-rose dog-rose. sweet-brier a wild rose, Rosa eglanteria, with small fragrant leaves and flowers. Derivatives: briery adj. Etymology: OE brær, brer, of unkn. orig. 2. n. (also briar) 1 a white heath, Erica arborea, native to S. Europe. 2 a tobacco pipe made from its root. Etymology: 19th-c. bruyer f. F bruyère heath
This word occurs frequently, and is the translation of several different terms. (1.) Micah 7:4, it denotes a species of thorn shrub used for hedges. In Prov. 15:19 the word is rendered "thorn" (Heb. _hedek_, "stinging"), supposed by some to be what is called the "apple of Sodom" (q.v.).
(2.) Ezek. 28:24, _sallon'_, properly a "prickle," such as is found on the shoots of the palm tree.
(3.) Isa. 55:13, probably simply a thorny bush. Some, following the Vulgate Version, regard it as the "nettle."
(4.) Isa. 5:6; 7:23-25, etc., frequently used to denote thorny shrubs in general. In 10:17; 27:4, it means troublesome men.
(5.) In Heb. 6:8 the Greek word (tribolos) so rendered means "three-pronged," and denotes the land caltrop, a low throny shrub resembling in its spikes the military "crow-foot." Comp. Matt. 7:16, "thistle."