What is Spanish heath?(Erica lusitanica)
- Spanish heath is an environmental and pasture weed.
- Spanish heath is a declared weed under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of Spanish heath are prohibited in Tasmania.
How to identify Spanish heath
heath is a woody evergreen perennial (long-lived) shrub growing to a
height of 1.5 to 2 metres and occasionally reaching 3.5 metres.
heath stems are woody and brittle, and the leaves are tiny (3 to 7 mm
long), pointed, and clustered densely on the stem. The leaves have a
longitudinal groove on the lower surface.
- Spanish heath
flowers appear from late autumn to early spring. The white or pinkish
flowers are 4 to 5 mm long and occur in loose groups towards the end of
the stems. Each flower can produce hundreds of tiny, dust-like seeds
which are released when flowering finishes and the flowers have browned
- The roots are fibrous, and the plant readily breaks off near the base, often regrowing quickly from the broken stump.
Image top: Spanish heath flowering plant, photo: Tim Rudman.
above, left to right: Spanish heath - flowering; Spanish heath; Close
up of flower, photo: Sandy Leighton; Spanish heath infestation in
bushland, photo: Sandy Leighton.
Spanish heath in Tasmania
- Spanish heath
occurs in many areas of Tasmania, with significant infestations in the
north (Tamar and Meander Valleys), north-west (from Devonport to
Smithton), south (Collinsvale, the Channel area and the Huon Valley),
and on the east coast (St Helens, Bicheno, and St Marys) (see map).
heath occurs on degraded pastures, neglected areas and roadsides.
Spanish heath also invades native vegetation types including wet forest,
dry forest, grassland and riparian (stream-side) areas, generally (but
not always) where there has been some soil disturbance.
of Spanish heath in pastures can reduce productivity. In native
bushland communities, dense infestations of Spanish heath can replace
native species. Spanish heath also increases the fire hazard as it is
What is the legal status of Spanish heath in your area?
Detailed management and control guidelines for Spanish heath can be found in the Spanish Heath Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Spanish Heath Control. For further information see Weed Links and Resources.See also
Spanish Heath Control Guide
Herbicides for Spanish Heath Control
Statutory Management Plan for Spanish Heath
Weed Links and Resources
Other useful links
extent permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries,
Parks, Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants)
excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but
not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other
compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or
material (in part or in whole) contained on this website.