Styphelia humifusa (Cav.) Pers.

Cranberry Heath

Syn. Pl. 1: 174 (1805)

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Prostrate, decumbent or erect shrub to c. 70 cm high; branchlets finely pubescent. Leaves spreading or erect, linear to oblanceolate, 5–18 mm long, 0.6–3 mm wide, mucronate, flat to convex, glabrous or scabridulous, lower surface usually paler; margins sparsely denticulate-ciliolate. Flowers solitary or rarely 2 or 3 close together; bracts, bracteoles and sepals ± mucronate; bracts 0.5–2.4 mm long; bracteoles 2.5–3.5 mm long; sepals ovate to ovate-oblong, 4.2–7 mm long; corolla red; tube cylindric, 7–12 mm long, constricted at base and/or apex, inside with 5 tufts of hairs, or rarely, a complete ring of hairs toward base, glabrous or sparsely hairy above; lobes narrowly triangular, 2.5–5.3 mm long, acute-mucronate, densely bearded inside except at tip; anthers ± exserted from corolla tube, style 5–15 mm long. Fruit spherical to ellipsoid, 5–10 mm long, green when ripe but often tinged or becoming completely dark purple. Flowers Jan.–Jul.

Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HFE, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuM, NIS, OtP, OtR, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. Also SA, NSW, Tas. Common and widespread, from near-coastal to inland areas, particularly in heathy to grassy woodland and open-forest.

A perplexingly variable species with respect to habit, leaf shape and colour, and size of floral parts. Prostrate plants occur throughout the species' range and often have narrow leaves to 1.4 mm wide, but broader-leaved variants with leaves to 3 mm wide occur sporadically particularly in and near the Grampians. Erect plants occur occasionally in drier regions, and in some areas (e.g. Grampians, Little Desert), erect and mat-forming plants can be found growing together with no intermediates with respect to habit. However, no reliable vegetative or floral characters have been found to support the recognition of segregate taxa.

Source: Albrecht, D.E. (1996). Epacridaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne (as Astroloma humifusum (Cav.) R.Br.).
Updated by: Neville Walsh, 2020-07-03
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Ericales
family Ericaceae
genus Styphelia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Styphelia humifusa in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Styphelia humifusa in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Bridgewater present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Victorian Alps present native