Floral Emblem of Victoria
Whilst the Common Heath (Epacris impressa) is a shrub that grows up to a 2 metres in height, along the coastal habitat the slender shrub is usually less than a metre in height.
The Common Heath is an erect forming shrub with stiff branches that have rigid, small alternate leaves, narrow with pointed apices. The flowers are tubular, up to 25 mm long, arranged singly in the leaf axils. Sometimes the flowers are so densely clustered around the stems, they can assume a cylindrical brush-like appearance, whilst on other plants they may be more sparsely arranged along one side of the stem.
It was in 1793 that the French botanist, Jacques-Julien Houton de Labillardiere during his voyage with Bruny D’Entrecasteaux on the unsuccessful search for the missing explorer, La Perouse, who collected the Common Heath in Tasmania.
The Common Heath comes in a number of colours from white, pale pink, rose pink, crimson and scarlet. There is also a rare double flower form.
It is the pink form of the Common Heath that was proclaimed on the 11 November, 1958 as the floral emblem of Victoria.
Habitat: A native to the south-east corner of Australia, it is found growing in the coastal heathlands, montane and sub-alpine regions. The Common Heath can be found growing along the north coast and east coast of Tasmania, and along the coastline from Clyde River in New South Wales, along the Victoria coastline, to the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia. In Victoria it is also found in the adjoining foothills, the Grampians and the Little Desert.
Leaves: linear-lanceolate to ovate, 8-15 mm long to 3 mm wide, sharply pointed and closely crowded on the stems.
Flower: colour ranging from white, pink to red. Tubular, up to 2 cm long and growing in dense clusters in the upper leaf axils, at the end of the stems. Can be found flowering almost year round.
- Common name
- Pink or Common Heath, Floral Emblem of Victoria.
- Found in coastal heath and open forest inland. Prefers the wet soil locations of NSW, SA, TAS, VIC.
Images © Ausemade PL
- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Clade: Tracheophytes
- Clade: Angiosperms
- Clade: Eudicots
- Clade: Asterids
- Order: Ericales
- Family: Ericaceae
- Genus: Epacris
- Species: E. impressa
- Binomial name: Epacris impressa