Epacris microphylla

Coral heath

Family: Ericaceae subfam. Epacridoideae

E. microphylla grows mainly up and down the tablelands of NSW and is found generally in swampy and dry coastal heath in dry sclerophyll forest on sandstone and granite. It typically grows on sandstone and sandy soils.

It occurs in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria where it is widespread from the coast to about 1900 metres altitude.

It flowers throughout the year but mainly July to November. Starry white flowers are produced solitarily in leaf axils but extending down branches to form leafy inflorescences. The flowers are white and often pink-tipped in bud. They are about 7 mm across.

Leaves are small and rigid, to 6 mm long and 4 mm wide and dark green.  Leaf shape can vary slightly from ovate to heart-shaped to rhombic and they are clustered very architecturally along the stem. The fruit is a capsule about 2 mm long. 

In the garden

E. microphylla is an attractive and reportedly hardy garden plant as long as it is grown in well-drained soil. Grows to 1 m or a little taller if moisture present.

Ideally, it needs a consistently moist but not over wet soil. Prune after flowering to keep compact and promote flowering. Mulch around the base will help retain soil moisture. A good container plant.

No recorded problems but may be temperamental like many others in this subfamily of heaths.

Propagation

From cuttings as seed is hard to collect.

Other information

Likely regenerates from seed after fire.

Epacris – from the Greek epi- meaning “upon” and akris meaning “edge” referring to the often found rocky and cliff habitat of species in the genus.
microphylla – from the Gk. micro meaning “small” and phylla meaning “leaves”

Not threatened except in Victoria where it is near threatened.

https://collections.ala.org.au/public/show/dr655
http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Epacris~microphylla
https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/epacris-microphylla-coral-heath/

By Jeff Howes