This pretty little shrub came to Ireland from southern Chile and Argentina and is now considered to be one of our invasive alien species. In its homeland it is one of the dominant plants which grow above the tree line. It is a bushy, evergreen plant which can grow to 120 cm high. Spreading by underground runners, it has small, alternate, ovate, dark green leaves which are sharply pointed – hence the common name ‘Prickly Heath’. In May and June it bears clusters of pearly-white, urn-shaped flowers (5 – 6 mm), the corollas being constricted at their mouths; the sepals are also white. The fruit is a purple or pink berry. Prickly Heath belongs to the Ericaceae family.
I recorded and photographed this species in 2010 in the beautiful Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre