Epacris longiflora

Fuchsia Heath, Native Fuchsia, Scarlet Epacris or Cigarette Flower

Family: Ericaceae subfam. Epacridoideae

The range of Epacris longiflora extends from coastal New South Wales north of Berry to southern Queensland. Naturally, it grows in wet coastal heath to the fringes of eucalypt forests and woodlands. It favours a well-drained but moist sandy soil and is particularly common along seepage lines on sandstone, such as in the Sydney Sandstone Basin.

An erect to spreading shrub, to 2 m high; stems with prominent short broad leaf scars; leaves ovate to about 2 cm long, and 7 mm wide, with a sharp narrowing point; mid to dark green in colour.

Flowers extending down branches, produced within the leaves, to about 3 cm long, red/pink with white tips, creating a very conspicuous show. Flowers can be continuous along branches for over 30 cm.

Fruits are very small capsules.

In the garden

E. longiflora does best in well-draining sandy soils, planted in partial shade protected from frost or the full sun. Mulch around the base will help retain soil moisture which is important as plants won’t tolerate drying out.

Hard to grow if moist sandy soils are not present. They dislike root disturbance, so it is a good idea to apply a layer of leaf litter or bark chips to deter weeds.

Attracts nectar eating birds.

A good container plant.

Propagation

Species from this plant family are historically difficult to propagate, likely due to specific root-fungus (mycorrhizal) associations. However, E. longiflora is one that has been grown successfully in containers.

From cuttings, as seed is hard to collect.

Other information

Not considered to be threatened in the wild.
E. longiflora regenerates from soil-stored seed bank in the event of fire.

Epacris – from the Greek epi- meaning “upon” and akris meaning “edge” referring to the often found rocky and cliff habitat of the species.
longiflora – from Latin longus meaning “long” or “extended” and flos/florus meaning “flower”.

https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/trainees-2018/epacris-longiflora.html
http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Epacris~longiflora

By Jeff Howes