Styphelia tortifolia is a low compact shrub, growing to 0.6 m in height and producing a spectacular display of firecracker red, tubular flowers from about June to September.
The species name is derived from the Latin tortus (twisted) and folium (leaf) in reference to the longitudinally twisted leaves that are a common feature of this species. The narrow, linear (small) leaves are crowded along the stems and have very sharp points.
Endemic to WA, Styphelia tortifolia occurs in a broad coastal strip from Geraldton to south of Perth, where it grows in sand or sandy loam soils, often over laterite.
This species was first described in 1845 as Astroloma glaucescens by Otto Sonder. However, in 2020 phylogenetic studies by several international researchers including the Western Australian Herbarium’s Michael Hislop determined that Astroloma needed to be sunk into Styphelia. This meant a replacement name was required because of the pre-existence of a different species named Styphelia glaucescens.
Photo: R. Davis