"The Common Heath is the floral emblem of Victoria"
A beautiful shrub that comes in a number colours including pure white, pale pink, rose pink, crimson and scarlet
Common Heath - (Epacris impressa)
The Common Heath grows to about a metre is a tall and it is a pretty upright standing slender shrub which has tubular flowers up to 25 mm long. The flowers are densely packed around the stem forming clusters among the ends of the branches.
It has many colours including pure white, pale pink, rose pink, crimson, scarlet and rare double flowered forms. The pink flower was the one chosen and proclaimed as Victoria's floral emblem.
Flowering usually begins in later autumn, peaking in winter, it is a beautiful flowering plant. The flowers are always narrow and tubular in shape; up to 2.5 centimetres long. Honey birds frequent the flowers as they contain sweet nectar at the bottom and pollen near its opening. The branches holding the flowers are firm and each on has small leaves that come to a sharp point at the end.
The Common Heath shrub is very worthy of cultivation and can be propagated from seed or propagation this is carried out by using stem cuttings 7 to 8 cm long and always taken below the soft tips in late autumn. The plant is found mainly in southern Victoria's semi-shaded west foothills.
Pollination occurs thanks to birds, the honeyeaters who placed their beaks deep into the flower taking in the nectar and at the same time they collect the pollen on their heads. Interestingly the pollen grains are microscopic and contain narrow fins on them which are collected on the birds feathers and are carried away.
The Common Heath is suited for the more coolish, moist areas and likes well drained, acidic soils. Unfortunately the Common Heath is not a long living plant a so a sequence of plantings is recommended. The plant has a sagging habit because of the weight of the flowers on the stems, some pruning will overcomes this and the flowers make for wonderful lasting indoor attractive decoration.