Frequently Asked Questions

5. Well...if proteas aren't native, what about ericas?

No again.

These are small leaved plants (often called 'heaths') with small to large bell-shaped flowers and, like the proteas, they are also commonly included in "native" flower arrangements. But Australia has no native ericas although at least one species (E.lusitanica) has naturalised and become a weed in some districts. Ericas belong to the plant family Ericaceae.

Australia has a group of plants which are also often called 'heaths'. These are species in the genera Epacris, Styphelia, Woolsia and several others. These are closely related to the exotic heaths. In the past these australian heaths have been classified into a separate family, the Epacridaceae, but most botanists now regard them as also being in the Ericaceae.

Erica baueri    Epacris impressa - white form
Ericas (E.baueri, left) and Epacris (E.impressa, right) are closely related but
Australia has no native ericas.
Photos: Brian Walters

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