The generic name Exocarpos was more commonly spelled Exocarpus in the past.
Exocarpos strictus, Exocarpos humifusus and Exocarpus syrticola are all closely related, and further research, both in Tasmania and elsewhere in southern Australia, is needed to determine whether these taxa should be maintained at specific rank[
Exocarpos humifusus is a low-growing, prostrate, more or less evergreen shrub, becoming ascending when growing in sheltered places; it generally forms a clump of growth around 100cm wide[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Australia - Tasmania
Open eucalypt woodland or forest and shrubland or heath communities, frequently in rocky sites; usually at elevations above 800 metres, though occasionally descending to near sea level[
Exocarpos humifusus is native to the temperate zone of Tasmania, where it can experience frosts and snow.
A major difficulty if trying to cultivate this species is that, although it photosynthesizes much of its own nutrients, it is also semi-parasitic on the roots of other plants, notably Eucalyptus species. Seeds germinate fairly easily, and cuttings will usually root successfully, but the seedlings and cuttings usually die unless they have root access to a host plant. Exocarpos species generally cause very little harm to the host plant.
Fruit - raw[
]. The red, obovoid or cylindrical fruiting receptacle is 3 - 5mm long[
The edible, fleshy, fruit-like structure is actually an enlarged, succulent section of the flower stalk (receptacle), beyond which the seed and true fruit protrude[
Propagation and establishment of species in this genus is difficult due to the semi-parasitic nature of the plant. Some success has being achieved in propagation from both seed and cuttings, but the plants generally do not survive once planted out[
Sowing the seed in situ near where potential host plants are growing, and protecting the seed with an upturned glass or plastic container would be worth a try. Alternatively, try sowing the seed in a pot where a small potential host is growing - the main disadvantage to this is that the two plants will be in very close proximity and the Exocarpos could be outcompeted.