Whilst the Common Health (Epacris impressa) is a shrub that grows up to a 2 metres in height, along
the coastal habitat the slender shrub is usually less than a metre in height. A
native to the south-east corner of Australia, it is found growing in the coastal heathlands, montane and sub-alpine regions. The Common Health can be found
growing along the north coast and east coast of Tasmania, and along the
coastline from Clyde River in New South Wales, along the Victoria coastline, to
the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia. In Victoria it is also found in the
adjoining foothills, the Grampians and the Little Desert.
The Common Health
shrub has stiff branches with rigid, small alternate leaves, narrow with pointed
apices. The flowers are tubular, up to 25 mm long, arranged singly in the leaf
axils. Sometimes the flowers are so densely clustered around the stems, they can
assume a cylindrical brush-like appearance, whilst on other plants they may be
more sparsely arranged along one side of the stem.
It was in 1793 that the French botanist, Jacques-Julien Houton de
Labillardiere during his voyage with Bruny D'Entrecasteaux on the unsuccessful
search for the missing explorer, La Perouse, who collected the Common Heath in
The Common Health comes in a number of colours from white, pale pink, rose pink,
crimson and scarlet. There is also a rare double flower form. It is the pink
form of the Common Heath that was proclaimed on the 11 November, 1958 as the
floral emblem of Victoria.
There is more information on the
Heath from the Australian National Herbarium / Australian National Botanic
Gardens website and in our
Common Health Flora section.