Epacris pulchella

Coral Heath, Wallum Heath

Family: Ericaceae subfam. Epacridoideae

Slender erect shrub to 1.5 m high but usually shorter, it grows in scrub, heath and dry sclerophyll forest on sandy soils. Its range is on coast and tablelands, north from Conjola and Ettrema Creek into SE Queensland.

Leaves are mid to dark green to about 6 mm long and 4 mm wide with an almost heart-shape and tapering apex. The leaves are very crowded on the stem and it creates a very interesting texture when run through the hand. The foliage is somewhat prickly. The branchlets are woolly.

The flowers extend down the branches, are 8 mm in diameter and white or pinkish with a 5-petaled star-shape.

Flowers in summer to autumn.

Produces a small capsule c. 2 mm long.

In the garden

The “Epacrid” group (Ericaceae subfam. Epacridoideae) are a notoriously difficult group of plants to grow. They are known to have specific root-fungi associations in the wild.

However, this species has been cultivated for some time.

The flowers contain nectar and are frequented by honey-eating birds.

Mulch around the base will help retain soil moisture as Epacris plants resent drying out and root disturbance.

No recorded pests of diseases.

Frost hardy to -7 degrees C. Prefers semi shade dappled light and moist soil.

Propagation

From cuttings as seed 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 some species in the group.

pulchella….. From Latin pulchellus, pretty or beautiful, referring to the appearance of the plant.

Not considered at risk in the wild.

http://anpsa.org.au/e-pul.html
http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Epacris~pulchella

By Jeff Howes