Cardamine lilacina Hook.

Companion Bot. Mag. 1: 273 (1835) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Threat status:Victoria: vulnerable (v)

Glabrous perennial to 50 cm high; taproot persisting, rootstock gradually elongating with age and commonly branching; flowering stems mostly erect, sometimes trailing. Leaves thin to somewhat fleshy; basal leaves numerous, rosetted, 5–15(–25) cm long, mostly pinnate with 1–4 lateral pinna pairs, terminal pinna orbicular, usually strongly cordate-based, crenate or sometimes dentate, lateral pinnae short to long-petiolulate, more or less orbicular; cauline leaves 0–6, to 10 cm long, variably reducing in size up the stem, pinnate or pinnately divided. Raceme usually many-flowered; sepals 2–4 mm long; petals 4.5–12 mm long, white or pink; mature style to 4 mm. Fruits erect to spreading, 10–50 mm long, 1.5–3 mm wide; pedicels 10–25 mm long; seeds 1.5–3 mm long. Flowers spring–autumn.

CVU, EGU, GipP, Gold, HNF, HSF, MonT, SnM, VAlp, VVP. Also NSW, ACT, Tas. Probably a complex of species occurring in lower altitude forests, subalpine woodland and various alpine habitats.

This complex is united by having large seeds, a basal rosette of leaves and a gradually elongating and usually branching perennial rootstock. In Victoria, there are few collections from lower altitudes (e.g. Portland, Ballarat, Daylesford, Yarra Valley, Traralgon) and their affinity with higher altitude variants is uncertain. In alpine and subalpine regions, plants are broader-fruited, larger-seeded and produce more cauline leaves than the type of Cardamine lilacina. Most populations (e.g. Falls Creek area, Mt Buffalo) have petals 5–7 mm long, seeds c. 2 mm long and grow to 30 cm high. A variant from Mt Higginbotham and Mt Buller has petals 7–10 mm long, seeds to 3 mm long, often produces a clump with numerous stems, and can be up to 50 cm high. Further study is required to assess the status of these entities.

There is some evidence of hybridization between C. lilacina and C. astoniae.

Source: Thompson, I.R. (1996). Cardamine. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-12-10
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Brassicales
family Brassicaceae
genus Cardamine
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Cardamine lilacina in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Cardamine lilacina in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory