Heather

Also known as:
Scotch Heather, Ling
Family:
Ericaceae
Origin:
Eurasia, N Africa

General description

Evergreen shrub to 60cm high. Stems woody, wiry with young shoots densely hairy, becoming hairless. Leaves tiny, in four rows. Flowers small, bell shaped, purple or pink, in dense spikes (Dec-Mar). Seed capsules tiny, round, hairy, break open to disperse seeds.

Terrestrial. Shrubland, short tussockland, herbfield, bare land, montane wetlands, riverbeds. Mostly in colder, subalpine areas, acid soils.

Seed dispersed by gravity and wind.

Ttolerates cold, some shade and poor soils. Invasive weed of tussock grasslands. Forms dense stands in low-growing habitats, and prevents recruitment. Spreads rapidly, forms monocultures.

Site management

Avoid soil disturbance. Exclude livestock. Sites amongst taller regeneration may often be left for natural succession. Begin control at roadsides and bare margins to minimise spread. Follow up annually until eliminated.

Recommended approaches

1. Ensure heather beetle is present if possible.
2. Stump swab when plant is flowering (1 g metsulfuron/L or 100 ml glyphosate/L or Vigilant)
3. Weed wiper active Spring growth only (500ml 2,4-D ethylhexyl ester/L).
4. Spray active Spring growth only (50ml 2,4-D ethylhexyl ester/10L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Spanish heath
Erica lusitanica

Spanish heath is a larger plant with white flowers (can be pink in bud). Its leaf margins are rolled often covering the whole of underside of the leaf.

Search tags

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
heather - Main species image