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Epacris rhombifolia facts for kids

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Mountain coral heath
Epacris rhombifolia foliage and flowers.jpg
Epacris rhombifolia in Barrington Tops National Park
Scientific classification
Genus:
Epacris
Species:
rhombifolia
Synonyms
  • Epacris microphylla var. rhombifolia L.R.Fraser & Vickery

Epacris rhombifolia commonly known as mountain coral heath, is a plant in the heath family Ericaceae and is endemic to eastern Australia. It is an erect, multi-stemmed shrub with broad, rhombic leaves and white flowers with four petals, the flowers spreading down the branches. It only grows in wet, subalpine heath and is sometimes regarded as a variety of Epacris microphylla.

Description

Epacris rhombifolia is an erect shrub with several main stems and which grows to a height of 2 metres (7 ft). The young stems are reddish-brown and covered with short, soft, downy hairs when young. The leaves are rhombic, 2.0–4.5 mm (0.08–0.2 in) long and 1.5–3.5 mm (0.06–0.1 in) wide, more or less flat and overlap each other when young. They are glabrous, have indistinct veins and a petiole 0.3–0.8 mm (0.01–0.03 in) long. The flowers are white, 3.8–5 mm (0.1–0.2 in) wide and arranged in leaf axils, spreading down the branches and have white petals forming a bell-shaped tube. The buds are surrounded by 16-20 white, egg-shaped bracts and white, egg-shaped sepals 1.5–2.5 mm (0.06–0.1 in) long and longer than the petal tube. The petal tube is about 1 mm (0.04 in) long, 1.5–2 mm (0.06–0.08 in) wide and the lobes are about 1.7 mm (0.07 in) long and do not overlap. Flowering occurs from December to March and the fruit that follows are capsules about 2 mm (0.08 in) long and wide.

Taxonomy and naming

Mountain coral heath was first formally described in 1810 by Lilian Fraser and Joyce Vickery, who gave it the name Epacris microphylla var. rhombifolia. The description was published in Journal and Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. The variety was raised to species level in 2015 by Yvonne Menadue and Ron Crowden. The specific epithet (rhombifolia) is derived from the Latin words rhombus meaning "an equilateral parallelogram with unequal pairs of angles" and folium meaning "leaf".

Distribution and habitat

Epacris rhombifolia grows in wet heath in subalpine areas of Lake Mountain, Mount Baw Baw and the ranges north of Licola in Victoria and in the Barrington Tops, Wingello and Oberon districts of New South Wales.

Use in horticulture

Mountain coral heath has horticultural merit with its display of dainty flowers. It is suitable for a small, permanently moist, sheltered garden and can be grown in containers.

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