Spanish Heath

South west Europe

General description

Erect, woody perennial shrub <2 tall. Densely hairy shoots & small needle-like leaves in whorls of 3-4. Impressive mass of white bell-shaped flowers (Mar-Dec).

Hillside pastures, shrubland, grassland, open disturbed areas, roadsides. Abundant & widespread especially in areas with moderate to high rainfall, poor acidic soils & low fertility.

Seeds dispersed by wind or animal contact.

Form dense infestations that crowd out regeneration of native seedlings especially on newly disturbed sites.

Site management

Regenerating tall vegetation can often be left for natural succession, which can be assisted by selective slashing. Exclude livestock, avoid fire & disturbance, minimise spraying. Replant bare sites. Spreading lime heavily often kills or reduces vigour sufficiently to allow succession, however may have similar impacts on some native species.

Recommended approaches

1. Hand pull seedlings.
2. A handful of lime around roots will kill small infestations or scattered plants (see Site Management note above).
3. Weed wipe during active spring growth (500ml 2,4-D ethylhexyl ester/1L).
4. Spray during active spring growth (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

hedge heath
Erica caffra

Hedge heath has larger leaves and its flowers are fragrant.

Calluna vulgaris

Heather is a smaller plant with pink-purple flowers. Lacks rolled leaves.

Search tags

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
Spanish heath - Main species image