Floral Emblem: Common Pink Heath

Common Pink HeathDownload a higher resolution of the Common Pink Heath JPEG (700 KB)

The Common Heath, Epacris impressa Labill was found in Tasmania by the French explorer Labillardiere in 1793, and was described by him in 1805 following his return to France.

It is a slender shrub, usually 0.3 to 1 metre high, with a few erect branches and with flowers ranging in colour from white through pink to red. The spreading leaves which are 8 to 15mm long, are stiff, narrow and tapered to a sharp point. The showy bell-like flowers are found on the upper parts of the branches. Frequently all flowers point in the same direction.

The name impressa refers to the indentations at the base of the flower-tube. This is a feature not found in any other Epacris.

In Victoria the Common Heath occurs mainly in the southern part of the State, where it is found chiefly in the semi-shaded habitats of the wetter foothill country, the coastal heath lands, the Grampians and the Little Desert scrub. It grows from sea-level to 1200 metres and is also found in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.

The Common Heath is frost-hardy and normally flowers through the winter and spring, although some flowers have been recorded as early as March.

Introduced into cultivation in Britain about 1830, and cultivated in the United States, these attractive flowering plants make a colourful display in many of Victoria's winter gardens where they may also attract their normal bird pollinating vector, the Eastern Spinebill which hovers in front of the flowers and is well adapted to their pollination.


Last updated on Wednesday, 30 December 2015