General Description:

The plant family Ericaceae (heaths and heathers) is widespread in many parts of the globe, particularly Europe and South Africa. It contains a number of widely cultivated plants such as Erica, Rhododendron and Pieris.

Like most of Australia’s members of the Ericaceae, Leptecophylla belongs to the subfamily Epacridoideae, which was formerly classified as a separate family, the Epacridaceae. Leptecophylla consists of about 15 species which are found in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and some Pacific Islands. The Australian Plant Census recognises six species that are native to Australia, most of which are found in Tasmania.

Leptecophylla parvifolia is found in alpine and subalpine areas of Tasmania and was previously classified under Cyathodes juniperina.  It, as well as some other species of Leptecophylla, has been incorrectly referred to as variety parvifolia of Leptecophylla juniperina, a species that is endemic to New Zealand.

Leptecophylla parvifolia is a densely foliaged shrub with prickly, lance-shaped leaves which are 5-6mm long and 1-2mm wide. The white flowers are tubular and about 5 mm long, occurring in the leaf axils towards the ends of the branches. Flowers are generally seen in winter and spring and are followed by deep pink fleshy fruits (drupes) about 10 mm in diameter. The fruits are edible.

L. parvifolia is not widely seen in gardens and is likely to be slow growing in cultivation. It should prefer a well drained, protected position in semi shade. Like most members of the Australian heaths, L. parvifolia should be an excellent species for growing in a container.

Propagation should be possible using cuttings of firm current season’s growth. Seed is rarely available, if at all, and germination success is unknown.


Plant profile image

Fruit of Leptecophylla parvifolia
Photo: Brian Walters


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