Erica lusitanica, Spanish Heath

Image/s
Category
Small to medium shrubs
Scientific Name
Erica lusitanica
Common Name/s
Spanish Heath
Weed Information

Threat: High threat environmental weed.

Description: Erect, evergreen, dense multi-stemmed medium sized shrub, 1–2m in height.

Flowers: White to pink bell-shaped flowers in pendulous clusters of three to four on the ends of the very short side branches in late winter to early spring.

Fruits: A small capsule about 3mm long containing many tiny dust-like seeds. Each plant is capable of producing millions of seeds which are spread by wind, water and on the coats of animals.

Leaves: Small, light green, needle-like tightly rolled leaves in whorls of three or four crowded along the branches.

Stems: Multi-branched woody stems densely covered with simple hairs.

Notes: Forms dense stands that compete with native vegetation. It is often associated with disturbed areas, but can also establish in undisturbed bushland. The seed remains viable in the soil for several years. Plants shoot vigorously when burnt, grazed or slashed. It forms dense infestations and creates a fire hazard due to its extreme flammability.

Similar indigenous species: Grey Parrot-pea (Dillwynia cinerascens) may appear similar in appearance to Spanish Heath but can be distinguished by its longer leaves and orange-red pea flowers.

Control measures: Hand weeding, spot spraying, cut and paint with suitable herbicide, slashing/mowing.

Dispersal: Birds, water, animals, seeds, vegetative.