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Genus Epacris Family Ericaceae
Subfamily Epacridoideae

Description: Usually erect, often rigid shrubs; branchlets usually pubescent; branches with leaf scars differing in prominence and shape.

Leaves scattered or imbricate, sometimes stem-clasping but not sheathing, usually concolorous, flat to concave or keeled; sessile or petiolate.

Flowers solitary, axillary in upper leaf axils or extending along the branches to form leafy inflorescences; bracts numerous, imbricate, grading in size to sepals. Sepals 5, usually glabrous except for ciliolate margins. Corolla tube cylindrical or campanulate, shorter or much longer than sepals, glabrous; lobes spreading or erect, shorter or longer than tube, glabrous, usually ± obtuse, imbricate in bud. Stamens 5; filaments short, inserted in the throat; anthers included in tube or half-exserted, versatile. Nectary of 5 scales, rarely joined. Ovary 5-locular with several ovules per loculus; placentation axile; style inserted in deep depression in ovary, short or long and exserted.

Fruit a loculicidal capsule.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: 40 species, Australia & New Zealand. Australia: 38 species (most species endemic), all States except N.T. & W.A.

Text by J. M. Powell, except for groups with contributors listed
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Epacris browniae,    Epacris celata,    Epacris gunnii,    Epacris lanuginosa,    Epacris lithophila,    Epacris pinoidea,    Epacris rhombifolia

 Key to the species 
1Flowers with corolla tube shorter than sepals, lobes as long or longer than tube2
Flowers with corolla tube longer than sepals, lobes shorter or as long as tube8
2Leaves with apex acute or acuminate3
Leaves with apex more or less obtuse
                       Back to 1
4
3Leaves with base cuneate; flowers more or less sessile, crowded into more or less terminal headsEpacris breviflora
Leaves with base cordate; flowers shortly pedunculate, often extending down branches to form long, leafy inflorescences
                       Back to 2
Epacris microphylla
4Leaves more or less rhombic or broad-elliptic5
Leaves elliptic, oblong or ovate
                       Back to 2
6
5Leaves 4–12 mm long, 3–8 mm wide; base obtuse and stem-clasping; petiole 0.7–2.5 mm long; flowers 5–6.5 mm diamEpacris coriacea
Leaves 2–4 mm long, 1.5–2.5 mm wide; base truncate; petiole less than 1 mm long; flowers 7–10 mm diam
                       Back to 4
Epacris glacialis
6Leaves with apex upturned; petiole lacking; flowers sessile, clustered at end of branchesEpacris petrophila
Leaves with straight apex; petiole short; flowers pedunculate, forming leafy inflorescences near end of branches, not clustered
                       Back to 4
7
7Branchlets finely pubescent; leaves elliptic to ovate or rarely oblong, thick with prominent midrib on lower surface; peduncles to 2 mm longEpacris rigida
Branchlets more or less glabrous; leaves elliptic-oblong or rarely ovate, very thick, wedge-shaped but midrib not prominent on lower surface; peduncles 1.5–4 mm long
                       Back to 6
Epacris muelleri
8Leaves rhombic, obovate or oblanceolate, rarely elliptic, apex usually obtuse9
Leaves ovate or elliptic, apex acute or acuminate
                       Back to 1
11
9Procumbent or ascending shrubs to c. 20 cm high; branches with prominent ridged leaf scarsEpacris crassifolia
Slender to more robust shrubs, more than 30 cm high; branches with inconspicuous, short, cup-shaped leaf scars
                       Back to 8
10
10Leaves more or less rhombic or circular, more than 3 mm wide; flowers in short leafy headsEpacris robusta
Leaves obovate or elliptic, usually less than 3 mm wide; flowers in long leafy inflorescences
                       Back to 9
Epacris obtusifolia
11Leaves with base obtuse or cordate12
Leaves with base truncate or cuneate
                       Back to 8
15
12Corolla tube ca 8 mm long, slightly longer than sepals13
Corolla tube more than 9 mm long, much longer than sepals
                       Back to 11
14
13Leaves 2–6.5 mm long, 1.4–4 mm wide; capsule c. 2 mm longEpacris pulchella
Leaves 7–21 mm long, 4.4–9 mm wide; capsule c. 2.5 mm long
                       Back to 12
Epacris purpurascens
14Leaves ca 9 mm long; sepals 2.5–4 mm long, usually acute; corolla tube mostly ca 14 mm long, lobes ca 3 mm longEpacris reclinata
Leaves often more than 9 mm long; sepals 4.5–7 mm long, usually acuminate with a mucro; corolla tube often more than 14 mm long, lobes more than 3 mm long
                       Back to 12
Epacris longiflora
15Flowers few or in short leafy heads near end of branches16
Flowers many, in long leafy inflorescences
                       Back to 11
18
16Leaves narrow-elliptic or ovate to elliptic, less than 3 mm wide; petiole ca 0.5 mm long; corolla tube 4–6 mm longEpacris paludosa
Leaves broad-ovate or elliptic, more than 3 mm wide; petiole distinct, 0.8–2 mm long; corolla tube more than 6 mm long
                       Back to 15
17
17Branchlets villous; leaves hairy on both surfaces; sepals 7–10 mm long; corolla tube 8–12 mm longEpacris hamiltonii
Branchlets finely pubescent; leaves glabrous; sepals 3–4 mm long, corolla tube 15–19 mm long
                       Back to 16
Epacris sparsa
18Leaves with a distinct petiole 0.9–1.4 mm long; flowers erect or spreading; sepals 6–10 mm longEpacris calvertiana
Leaves more or less sessile or with short petiolar area; flowers often pendent; sepals 2–5 mm long
                       Back to 15
Epacris impressa

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