Plant Assessment Form

Erica lusitanica

Common Names: Spanish heath; Portuguese heath; urze

Evaluated on: 5/19/11

List committee review date:

Re-evaluation date:


Elizabeth Brusati, Program Manager
Cal-IPC, 1442-A Walnut St. #462, Berkeley, CA 94709
Joseph M. DiTomaso, Specialist in Cooperative Extension
Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of California-Davisre
Mail Stop 4, One Shields Ave., Davis CA 95616

No list committee members listed

General Comments

No general comments for this species

Table 2. Criteria, Section, and Overall Scores

Overall Score? Limited
Alert Status? No Alert
Documentation? 2.5 out of 5
Score Documentation
1.1 ?Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes U. Unknown No Information
Four-part score UBUD Total Score
1.2 ?Impact on plant community B. Moderate Other Published Material
1.3 ?Impact on higher trophic levels U. Unknown Other Published Material
1.4 ?Impact on genetic integrity D. None Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.1 ?Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance in establishment C. Minor Observational
Total Points
12 Total Score B
2.2 ?Local rate of spread with no management A. Increases rapidly Other Published Material
2.3 ?Recent trend in total area infested within state B. Increasing less rapidly Observational
2.4 ?Innate reproductive potential
(see Worksheet A)
A. High Other Published Material
2.5 ?Potential for human-caused dispersal C. Low Observational
2.6 ? Potential for natural long-distance dispersal C. Rare Observational
2.7 ?Other regions invaded C. Already invaded Other Published Material
3.1 ?Ecological amplitude/Range
(see Worksheet C)
B. Moderate Observational
Total Score C
3.2 ?Distribution/Peak frequency
(see Worksheet C)
D. Very low Observational

Table 3. Documentation

Scores are explained in the "Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-Native Plants that Threaten Wildlands".

Section 1: Impact
Question 1.1 Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes? U No Information
Identify ecosystem processes impacted:

None reported or known.

Sources of information:

Question 1.2 Impact on plant community composition,
structure, and interactions?
B Other Published Material
Identify type of impact or alteration:

Forms large monocultures in coastal Humboldt County. Is capable of forming dense stands in forest lands, wild areas, pastureland and on right-of-ways and will be a troublesome weed to control, should it be allowed to spread in western Oregon. Spanish heath has infested large areas in Northern California (Humboldt, Del Norte Counties) and is demonstrating a capacity to infest similar habitat in Oregon and Washington. Shown to outcompete native vegetation in Australia. In parts of Australia and New Zealand, Spanish heath is a major environmental weed (State of Victoria, 2001). Impacts to parks, wildland and wildlife refuges result from the aggressive growth and competition provided by the plant. Other impacts can include reductions in native plant diversity, invasion of riparian areas, competition with conifer and broadleaf tree species and overall degradation of the land base. In California, Spanish heath is a weed of wild land and forest where it forms dense stands, especially in disturbed areas.

Sources of information:

Clare Golec, CalTrans, pers. comm.

Question 1.3 Impact on higher trophic levels? U Other Published Material
Identify type of impact or alteration:

None known. Not considered palatable to stock. Erica provides limited forage for grazing animals and few insects so it grows rapidly with limited herbivore pressure.

Sources of information:

Question 1.4 Impact on genetic integrity? D Reviewed Scientific Publication

None. No native Erica species in California.

Sources of information:

Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual, Higher Plants of California. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA

Section 2: Invasiveness
Question 2.1 Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance
in establishment?
A Other Published Material
Describe role of disturbance:

1) Inhabits disturbed, open, sandy areas
2) Appears to get foothold and/or introduced via disturbance (may have some horticultural introduction) but spreads readily into open habitats.

Sources of information:

Hickman 1993 Jepson Manual
2) Clare Golec, CalTrans, pers comm

Question 2.2 Local rate of spread with no management? A Other Published Material
Describe rate of spread:

Sources of information:

Clare Golec, CalTrans, pers. comm.

Question 2.3 Recent trend in total area infested within state? B Observational
Describe trend:

Spreading to new sites in North Coast

Sources of information:

Clare Golec, CalTrans, pers. comm.

Question 2.4 Innate reproductive potential? A Other Published Material
Describe key reproductive characteristics:

Perennial shrub. Produce many seeds? Flowers from winter to spring. Recovers quickly after fire.

Sources of information:

Question 2.5 Potential for human-caused dispersal? C Observational
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Possibly could be spread along roadsides as that seems to be a major area of invasion?
Horticultural species - listed in Sunset Garden Book.

Sources of information:

Brenzel 2001

Question 2.6 Potential for natural long-distance dispersal? C Observational
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Doesn't seem very likely.

Sources of information:

Question 2.7 Other regions invaded? C Other Published Material
Identify other regions:

Native to France, Portugal, and Spain. Naturalized in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom (USDA-GRIN)
California is the only state listed for the U.S., although Clare Golec mentions it spreading in Oregon (USDA PLANTS database). Appears to have invaded similar habitats as it has invaded in Australia, New Zealand and Oregon.

Sources of information:


Section 3: Distribution
Question 3.1 Ecological amplitude/Range? B Observational

1) Inhabits disturbed, open, sandy areas
2) Large monoculture infestations in coastal Humboldt County, especially in the vicinity of the town of Trindad (roadsides and forest openings), just south of Eureka (open fields) to Fortuna along the state Route 101 with spreading into adjacent grasslands and other openings. New occurrences being reported in Del Norte (Wendell Woods), Oregon (Ken French), and Mendocino County (Clare Golec).

Sources of information:

1) Hickman 1993 Jepson Manual
2) Clare Golec, CalTrans, pers comm

Question 3.2 Distribution/Peak frequency? D Observational
Describe distribution:

Invasion is concentrated in North Coast so probably a small percentage of these habitats statewide.

Sources of information:

Worksheet A - Innate reproductive potential

Reaches reproductive maturity in 2 years or less Unknown
Dense infestations produce >1,000 viable seed per square meter Unknown
Populations of this species produce seeds every year. Unknown
Seed production sustained over 3 or more months within a population annually Unknown
Seeds remain viable in soil for three or more years Unknown
Viable seed produced with both self-pollination and cross-pollination Unknown
Has quickly spreading vegetative structures (rhizomes, roots, etc.) that may root at nodes Unknown
Fragments easily and fragments can become established elsewhere Unknown
Resprouts readily when cut, grazed, or burned Unknown
Total points: 0
Total unknowns: 9
Total score: U?

Related traits:

Worksheet B - Arizona Ecological Types is not included here

Worksheet C - California Ecological Types

(sensu Holland 1986)
Major Ecological Types Minor Ecological Types Code?
Marine Systemsmarine systems
Freshwater and Estuarine lakes, ponds, reservoirs
Aquatic Systemsrivers, streams, canals
Scrub and Chaparralcoastal bluff scrub
coastal scrub
Sonoran desert scrub
Mojavean desert scrub (incl. Joshua tree woodland)
Great Basin scrub
chenopod scrub
montane dwarf scrub
Upper Sonoran subshrub scrub
Grasslands, Vernal Pools, Meadows, and other Herb Communitiescoastal prairieD, < 5%
valley and foothill grassland
Great Basin grassland
vernal pool
meadow and seep
alkali playa
pebble plain
Bog and Marshbog and fen
marsh and swamp
Riparian and Bottomland habitatriparian forest
riparian woodland
riparian scrub (incl.desert washes)
Woodlandcismontane woodland
piñon and juniper woodland
Sonoran thorn woodland
Forestbroadleaved upland forest
North Coast coniferous forestD, < 5%
closed cone coniferous forest
lower montane coniferous forest
upper montane coniferous forest
subalpine coniferous forest
Alpine Habitatsalpine boulder and rock field
alpine dwarf scrub
Amplitude (breadth): B
Distribution (highest score): D

Infested Jepson Regions

Click here for a map of Jepson regions

  • Northwest