Prickly heath Gaultheria mucronata
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An invasive, non-native plant.A small, evergreen shrub grown for its large, colourful berries. Prickly heath is very readily available from garden centres and nurseries and is popular in gardens and amenity planting in areas with acidic soil.
What's the problem?
The berries are attractive to birds, which help them spread into the wild, but they are also planted for game cover in woods and on heaths. Locally, such as in the New Forest, they can become serious pests, forming dense, evergreen thickets to the exclusion of native vegetation; they are especially a problem on lowland heaths where plants can regenerate rapidly following clearance.
Rapid Risk Assessment
**** Urgent Risk
Plantlife believes these species should be listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales.