Erica carnea (Winter heath, Winter Flowering Heather, or Spring heath; syn. E. herbacea, E. mediterranea) is a species of heath native to mountainous areas of central and southern Europe in the eastern Alps, where it grows in coniferous woodlands or stony slopes.
It is a low-growing subshrub reaching 10-25 cm tall, with evergreen needle-like leaves 4-8 mm long, borne in whorls of four. The flowers are produced in racemes in late winter to early spring, often starting to flower while the plant is still covered in snow; the individual flower is a slender bell-shape, 4-6 mm long, dark reddish-pink, rarely white.
The first published name for the species is Erica herbacea; however, the name E. carnea (published three pages later in the same book) is so widely used, and the earlier name so little used, that a formal proposal to conserve the name E. carnea over E. herbacea was accepted by the International Botanical Congress in 1999.