Spanish Heath


General description

Perennial shrub < 2 m tall. Leaves are < 7 mm long and in whorls of 3-4. Flowers are small, red/pink/white and borne in racemes in March – December. Seed capsules ripen in spring.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell Spanish heath within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant Spanish heath within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any Spanish heath on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Bare ground, scrubland, roadsides, track margins, wasteland, slips, tussock, herbfields, fernland, dune slacks, pasture.

Seeds dispersed by wind, water and gravity. Human-mediated dispersal through deliberate plantings.

Displaces native vegetation, especially in short stature plant communities. Unpalatable to stock.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel

Basic Growsafe certified
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

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

RPMP status

Whole region (Sustained Control)
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
Spanish heath - Main species image