Statement of Intent to Declare Erica species


Scientific name (common name):

Erica arborea (tree heath)

Erica baccans (berry heath)

Erica caffra (water heath)

Erica carnea (winter heath)

Erica ciliaris (Dorset heath)

Erica cinerea (bell heather)

Erica discolour (bicoloured heath)

Erica erigena (Irish heath)

Erica glandulosa

Erica holosericea

Erica melanthera

Erica quadrangularis (angled heath)

Erica scoparia (besom heath)

Erica terminalis (Corsican heath)

Erica tetralix (cross-leaved heath)

Erica vagans (Cornish heath)

Reasons for making the order

Erica is a genus of around 820 species (Nelson 2011), mostly from South Africa (about 85%), but also from the Mediterranean, Macaronesia, and Europe (Spencer 1997, Nelson 2011). More than 30 species of Erica are recorded as being weedy and/or naturalised (outside their natural range), somewhere in the world (Randall 2012).

This declaration proposal accounts for species of the Erica genus from the perspective of foreseeable invasive threats to Tasmania. Each Erica species naturalised in Tasmania has been assessed. The proposal also includes weedy Erica species that may be introduced to Tasmania. Some of these are species already naturalised on mainland Australia.

Six Erica species are naturalised in Tasmania (de Salas and Baker 2014), but only one of these (Erica lusitanica) is declared under Tasmania's Weed Management Act 1999. The other species are E. arborea, E. scoparia, E. baccans, E. caffra, and E. holosericea.

Tasmania has substantial infestations of Erica lusitanica and E. arborea. Also, an E. scoparia infestation of almost 300ha has established near Launceston. Infestations of these species are causing significant environmental and economic harm. Tasmania is biogeographically ideal for the establishment and spread of weedy Erica species. Biosecurity Tasmania is concerned to prevent infestations of additional species.

The 16 Erica species proposed for declaration were selected because they have already naturalised in Australia and/or are of European origin. Erica species of European origin were assessed to have a particularly strong potential to be invasive in Tasmania, and indeed Tasmania's worst Erica weed species to date, are of European origin.

Restrictions or measures proposed in respect of the weed

Except with the written approval of the Secretary, a person must not import or allow to have imported into the State any of the declared Erica species.

The tolerance level for seed of the listed Erica species in imported grain will be 0 seeds per kilogram.

Land owners and managers shall take all reasonable measures to control the impact and spread of the listed Erica species.

A person must not propagate, trade or otherwise distribute the listed Erica species or anything carrying the listed Erica species except:

  1. transport for purposes of disposal
  2. sale or transport for purposes other than disposal where authorised by the Secretary

Plants of the listed Erica species shall be disposed of in a manner which will not result in further infestation.

Any other relevant matters

Weed Risk Assessment

Assessment conducted 2016

by   Michael Noble (Coordinator Risk Assessment and Review)


A quantitatively based weed risk assessment was undertaken for each of the listed Erica species. Results indicate that these species pose a significant risk. This finding supports their declaration.  The biogeographical attributes of the listed Erica species (currently naturalised in parts of Australia, and/or suited to Tasmania's climate and soils, and/or known environmental and agricultural weeds) scored the majority of points in the weed risk analysis.  Biological and ecological attributes were a lesser contributor to the overall score.  The weed risk analysis scored the environment higher than agriculture as the sector most likely to be affected.


de Salas, M.F. and Baker, M.L. (2014). A census of the vascular plants of Tasmania. Tasmanian Herbarium, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart.

Nelson, E. C. (2011). Hardy heathers from the northern hemisphere – Calluna, Daboecia, Erica. Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Surrey, UK.

Randall, R.P. 2012. A global compendium of weeds (2nd Ed.). Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia. (accessed 6 February 2015).

Spencer, R. (1997). Horticultural flora of south-eastern Australia: flowering plants Dicotyledons part 1, the identification of garden and cultivated plants: volume 2. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.

For further information:


Michael Noble
Biosecurity Tasmania
Phone: (03) 6421 5100

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