Cranberry heath

Astroloma humifusum

''Astroloma humifusum'', commonly known as the native cranberry or cranberry heath, is a small prostrate shrub or groundcover in the heath family Ericaceae. The species is endemic to south-eastern Australia.
Cranberry heath - Astroloma humifusum  Astroloma humifusum,Australia,Fall,Geotagged

Appearance

''Astroloma humifusum'' grows as a spreading mat-like shrub up to 50 cm high and 0.5 to 1.5 m across. Its hairy stems bear blue-green pine-like acute leaves 0.5-1.2 cm long. The tubular flowers are up to 2 cm long and appear from February to June, and are all red, unlike the red and green flowers of ''A. pinifolium''. Flowers are followed by green globular berries around 0.4-0.6 cm in diameter, which become reddish as they ripen.
Cranberry Heath Astroloma humifusum Easily overlooked heath plant growing on large exposed flat sandstone slabs. Some of the slabs of sandstone were many square meters in size and very wet with a lot of water runoff from hillsides.

 Astroloma humifusum,Australia,Fall,Geotagged

Naming

Common names include cranberry heath and native cranberry, as the fruit were eaten by early settlers. An old name is juniper-leaved astroloma. Common nineteenth century names were "Native Cranberries" and "Ground Berry".
Cranberry heath - Astroloma humifusum  Astroloma humifusum,Australia,Fall,Geotagged

Distribution

The range is in southeastern Australia, from Newcastle in the north in eastern and central New South Wales, into Victoria, south-eastern South Australia and Tasmania. It is generally found in open woodland, both on sandstone and clay soils, as well as upland bogs. Associated plant species include ''Eucalyptus fibrosa'', ''Eucalyptus sideroxylon'', and ''Kunzea ambigua''.

Habitat

The range is in southeastern Australia, from Newcastle in the north in eastern and central New South Wales, into Victoria, south-eastern South Australia and Tasmania. It is generally found in open woodland, both on sandstone and clay soils, as well as upland bogs. Associated plant species include ''Eucalyptus fibrosa'', ''Eucalyptus sideroxylon'', and ''Kunzea ambigua''.The eastern bettong eats the fruit.

Uses

Requiring good drainage in the garden, ''Astroloma humifusum'' can be grown in rockeries. The juicy berries are edible, although they are mostly made up of a large seed. They can be used to make jams or preserves. The flavour of the berries has been described as "sickly sweet".

The 1889 book 'The Useful Native Plants of Australia records that "The fruits of these dwarf shrubs have a viscid sweetish pulp, with a relatively large stone. The pulp is described by some as being "apple flavoured..."

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Taxonomy
KingdomPlantae
DivisionAngiosperms
ClassEudicots
OrderEricales
FamilyEricaceae
GenusAstroloma
SpeciesA. humifusum
Photographed in
Australia