Comesperma calymega Labill.

Blue-spike Milkwort

Nov. Holl. Pl. 2: 23, t. 162 (1806) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Slender glabrous subshrub to c. 60 cm high; stems simple or few-branched, smooth, arising annually from a short woody rhizome, leafy throughout or in c. lower two-thirds (rarely almost leafless). Leaves oblanceolate to linear, 8–25 mm long, 1–5 mm wide, thickish, flat or margins slightly recurved. Flowers blue, in a terminal raceme; pedicels 2–3.5 mm long; sepals free, the outer 3 obovate, 2–3 mm long, the adaxial one slightly pouched at base, wings obovate, c. twice as long as sepals or more, keel hooded and yellow at apex, with 2 lateral subapical pouches, c. 3 mm long; upper petals mauve, oblong, pointed at apex, shortly exceeding keel and united with it to c. midway. Capsule obovate or cuneate, long-tapered to base, 6–7.5 mm long, truncate or shallowly 3-toothed at apex; seeds plumply ovoid, 1–2 mm long, pubescent all over, with longer silky hairs c. 5 mm long around the margin. Flowers Oct.–Feb.

CVU, DunT, EGL, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HSF, LoM, MuM, OtP, OtR, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. Also WA, SA, Tas. Widespread and moderately common in sandy heathlands in the west of the State, extending eastwards to near Bairnsdale.

Some plants of Comesperma calymega from the north-west are virtually leafless (and have in the past been referred to C. defoliatum). This condition seems to be related to rapid growth after fire.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1999). Polygalaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-12-12
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Fabales
family Polygalaceae
genus Comesperma
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Comesperma calymega in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Comesperma calymega in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia