Shallon Gaultheria shallon

Status Non-native, invasive
Best Time to See
Habitat Woodland

A non-native invasive plant.

A native of North America, this relative of heather has leathery leaves and produces what appear to be dark blue berries but which are actually swollen parts of the flower.

It is very readily available from garden centres and nurseries and is popular in gardens and amenity planting in areas with acidic soil.


Heathland and acidic woodland.

What's the problem?

The berries are attractive to birds, which help this shrub spread into the wild, but it is also planted for game cover in woods and on heaths. Locally, such as in the New Forest, shallon can become a serious pest, forming dense, evergreen thickets to the exclusion of native vegetation. It is especially a problem on lowland heaths where plants can regenerate rapidly following clearance.

Plantlife's position

Plantlife believes these species should be listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.