State Botanical Collection, illuminated by Twenty20 Creative

The Epacris impressa Walk puts this brightly coloured plant in the spotlight.

The Epacris impressa Walk


Plants are fundamental to life on Earth. They give our lives meaning and inspiration. The Lightscape trail includes culturally significant and symbolic plants for First Peoples represented in the artwork of Mandy Nicholson. Plants also feature in Western culture as national or state floral emblems. These emblems are used in ceremonial, political and patriotic contexts to symbolise a sense of identity and pride.


Does the Victorian state floral emblem convey this sense of identity? While many know the Golden Wattle as the national emblem of Australia, and the Waratah (New South Wales) and Sturt’s Desert Pea (South Australia) as state flowers, the unassuming Common Heath, or Epacris impressa, is perhaps not as well known.


Epacris impressa is a slender, upright shrub that grows to about one metre tall and is native to south-eastern Australia. It produces stems lined with many tubular flowers that range from white to deep red, but it is the pink form that was chosen to represent the state of Victoria. The Epacris impressa was named as Victoria’s floral emblem in 1958 after being unanimously chosen by representatives of Victorian government departments and other local stakeholders. It was the first state floral emblem named in Australia.


The Epacris impressa Walk puts this brightly coloured plant in the spotlight. A range of scientific and artistic images of the pink heath were sourced from the State Botanical Collection, then overlaid and projected to create an illuminated tribute to the Victorian State Flower.


More visual representations of the Epacris impressa can found on display on Rose Pavilion.


Epacris impressa Walk features details from the following images:

  • Photo: Ian McCann, 1984, State Botanical Collection © Royal Botanic Gardens Board.

  • Photo: Ian McCann, 1984, State Botanical Collection © Royal Botanic Gardens Board.


Rose Pavilion image credits:

  • Photo: Neville Walsh, 2013, State Botanical Collection, © Royal Botanic Gardens Board.

  • Illustration: Enid Mayfield, 2003, State Botanical Collection © Enid Mayfield.

  • Photo: Ian McCann, 1984, State Botanical Collection © Royal Botanic Gardens Board.

Installations

The Epacris impressa Walk

Lightscape, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne