Ventenatia humifusa Cav.
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.
Astroloma humifusum grows as a spreading mat-like shrub up to 50 cm (20 in) high and 0.5 to 1.5 m (20 in to 5 ft) across. Its hairy stems bear blue-green pine-like acute leaves 0.5-1.2 cm (0.2-0.5 in) long. The tubular flowers are up to 2 cm (0.8 in) 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 (0.2 in) in diameter, which become reddish as they ripen.
Astroloma humifusum was initially described as Ventenatia humifusa by Spanish botanist Antonio José Cavanilles in 1797, before being given its current binomial name by prolific Scottish botanist Robert Brown in his 1810 work Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae.
Brown also described a second species, Astroloma denticulatum, based on plant material that he had collected at Memory Cove in South Australia. It was later treated as a subspecies of A. humifusum (A. humifusum var. denticulatum), but is currently treated as a synonym of A. humifusum.
Distribution and 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.
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".
- "Astroloma humifusum (Cav.) R. Br.". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
- Elliot, Rodger W.; Jones, David L.; Blake, Trevor (1985). Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants Suitable for Cultivation: Vol. 2. Port Melbourne: Lothian Press. p. 248. ISBN 0-85091-143-5.
- Fairley A, Moore P (2000). Native Plants of the Sydney District: An Identification Guide (2nd ed.). Kenthurst, NSW: Kangaroo Press. p. 87. ISBN 0-7318-1031-7.
- "Ventenatia humifusa Cav.". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
- "Astroloma denticulatum". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- "Type of Astroloma denticulatum R.Br. [family EPACRIDACEAE]". JSTOR Global Plants. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- "Name Currency Astroloma humifusum (Cav.)R.Br.". FloraBase. Archived from the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- Bennett, George (1860). Gatherings of a naturalist in Australasia: being observations principally on the animal and vegetable productions of New South Wales, New Zealand, and some of the austral islands. John Van Voorst. p. 370.
- J. M. Powell. "New South Wales Flora Online: Astroloma humifusum". Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia.
- "Astroloma humifusum". Electronic Flora of South Australia Fact Sheet. State Herbarium of South Australia. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
- Benson, Doug; McDougall, Lyn (1995). "Ecology of Sydney Plants 3: families Cabombaceae to Eupomatiaceae" (PDF). Cunninghamia. 4 (2): 217–429.
- Hume, Ian D. (1999). Marsupial nutrition. Cambridge University Press. p. 319.
- Gray, Marilyn (2010). "Astroloma humifusum". Archived from the original on 29 March 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011.