Native Cranberry

Description

Common names

Native Cranberry, Cranberry Heath, Dwarf Astroloma.

Scientific names

Astroloma humifusum.

Family

Epacridaceae.

Genus

Astroloma.

Growth rate

Slow.

Growth height

Up to 0.5m.

Presence in Australia

Noted in the higher rainfall areas Coppabella; Jingellic and Upper Gilmore.

This specie has been identified in the following Australian states: NSW, ACT, Vic, Tas, SA, WA.

Habitat

Ridges and slopes in dry sclerophyll forest over sandstone, shales and basalt, often in disturbed sites.

Habit

Small, mat-forming densely-branched shrub with branches to 50cm high. Blue-green stiff, prickly narrow leaves.

Site preference

Requires well-drained soil. Tolerates frost and extended dry periods.

Flowering

Bright to dark red tubular flowers, particularly May-Sep.

Seed collection

Harvest Astroloma seed early Sep to late Mar. Monitor closely as mature seeds shed in 3-14 days.

Propagation

From cuttings of very young but firm new growth. Difficult to root, and propagate from seed.

Land protection

Widely cultivated for rockeries, embankments, groundcover and planting beneath larger shrubs.

Wildlife

Good habitat. Provides nectar for native birds. Apparently not eaten by stock, due to its prickliness.

Koori

The sweet fruits were eaten by the Kooris.

Ornamental

Responds well to pruning.

Other

Can be used in jams and jellies.