Alert List for Environmental Weeds
Department of the Environment and Heritage and the CRC for Australian Weed Management, 2003
ISBN 1 9209 3221 6
About the guide
Calluna vulgaris is on the Alert List for Environmental Weeds, a list of 28 non-native plants that threaten biodiversity and cause other environmental damage. Although only in the early stages of establishment, these weeds have the potential to seriously degrade Australia's ecosystems.
Also known as red heath, Scotch heather or ling, C. vulgaris grows on poor undeveloped grassland on acid soils, and prefers frost flats, scrub and higher tussock grasslands where the winters are cold. Although C. vulgaris seedlings are very small and easily outcompeted by grasses, as a mature plant it forms a dense canopy which can reduce species diversity in sensitive open upland habitats. It is a major weed in many overseas regions, including the World Heritage Tongariro National Park in New Zealand where it is the most widespread exotic weed, and throughout North America. In Australia it has been deliberately planted in gardens and for erosion control, but so far has only naturalised in Tasmania.