Creature Feature: Portuguese Heath

This week we’ll take a look at a common invasive plant in Humboldt County–the Portuguese Heath (Erica lusitanica). This showy shrub was brought to the United States as an ornamental plant, but quickly spread beyond the garden. It can be found in disturbed soils and sunny areas, and is especially visible along stretches of Hwy 101 near Trinidad.

One of the reasons Portuguese Heath has become such a successful invasive is because each plant produces millions of seeds every year. Invasive plants can be a huge headache for native plant restoration, but at least this one’s pretty! And here’s another plus: no need to feel guilty about snipping a few branches of these tiny bell-shaped flowers for a bouquet!

Photo: Ivy Munnerlyn, College Cove trail
Sources: Oregon Department of Agriculture