In between documenting the native flowers on the property month by month, I’m pausing to post a flower we have open right now.  It is a tiny plant – not much taller than lichen – and it is growing in only one spot on our dam bank, as far as I can tell.  I’ve looked through my field guides, and I’m pretty sure it is Victoria’s floral emblem, Common Heath.  [Note:  Update to this post below – this is actually Cranberry Heath]

According to the field guide, this plant can have pink or scarlet flowers, and very very rarely, white flowers. It can grow to one metre in height, but I think ours is struggling to get to five centimetres in height.  The flowers certainly meet the description, as being tubular, with five pointed petals opening out at the end of the tube. The short spiky leaves also match the description.

With such a dearth of colour in the bushland at the moment, the bright scarlet colour of the flowers is so cheerful.

Common Heath 1
This photo shows the five pointed petals at the end of the tubular red flowers.
Common Heath
The flowers are surrounded by clusters of short spiky leaves.
Common Heath
The spindly grasses and fallen gum leaves alongside the plant give some hints to its small size.

Update: 14 June 2013.

Yesterday, in a comment, BJ kindly pointed out that this was Cranberry Heath, which doesn’t appear in my field guides.  A Google search on Cranberry Heath took me to a page on Dave’s Garden site, which shows photos that exactly look like mine!  Today I visited a State Park which actually does have Common Heath flowering right now, so I will post information and photos related to that tomorrow.