Wahlenbergia capillaris (G.Lodd.) G.Don

in Sweet, Sweet's Hortus Britannicus, 3, 419 ( 1839)

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Perennial with thickened taproot; stems few–many from base, usually branched, rarely simple, glabrous, or hirsute near base, erect, to c. 50(–80) cm high, leafy throughout or only toward base; leaves alternate, oblanceolate (near base) to linear, 4–50(–80) mm long, 0.5–6 mm wide; margins entire or with a few small callus-teeth, flat or undulate. Hypanthium narrow-obconical, 2–5 mm long, glabrous; calyx-lobes erect, narrow-triangular, 2–6 mm long, glabrous; corolla narrowly campanulate, blue, often whitish outside, tube 4–9 mm long, usually longer than calyx-lobes, lobes elliptic to ovate, 6–15 mm long, 2.5–6 mm wide, acute; style 4.5–9.5 mm long, not or hardly constricted, lobes 3, oblong. Capsule narrowly obconical or narrowly obovoid, 4–9 mm long, 1.5–5 mm wide. Flowers mainly Oct.–Mar.

CVU, DunT, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuF, MuM, MSB, NIS, SnM, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, Wim. CVU, DunT, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuF, MuM, MSB, NIS, SnM, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, Wim. All mainland states. Scattered through northern and eastern Victoria, commonest in warmer inland regions (e.g. mallee, northern plains, rain-shadow areas in the east).

Plants from drier northern and north-western areas and rain-shadow areas of the east (e.g. Big Desert, Hattah, Bendigo, Suggan Buggan) tend to be little-branched and have leaves crowded near the base, while those from most sites south of the Dividing Range are more commonly freely branched above the base and leafier throughout, sometimes resembling opposite-leaved W. luteola which was formerly included within W. capillaris (as W. communis), but not uncommon on basalt-derived clays of the Volcanic Plain from Melbourne westward.

The veracity of W. capillaris as an earlier name for what has generally been known as W. communis Carolin is somewhat contentious as the identity of the plate in 'The Botanists Cabinet' labelled W. capillaris is equivocal, initially rejected by Carolin (1965) as a nomen nudum but recently resurrected by Turner (2016) as a validly published name.

Created by: Neville Walsh, 2018-10-15

Carolin, R.C. (1965). Taxonomic and nomenclatural notes on the genus Wahlenbergia in Australia. , Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 89(2): 237.

Turner, I.M. (2016). Rather for the nomenclaturist than for the scientific botanist: The Botanical Cabinet of Conrad Loddiges & Sons. , Taxon 65(5): 115.

Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Asterales
family Campanulaceae
genus Wahlenbergia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Wahlenbergia capillaris in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Wahlenbergia capillaris 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
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Scroll Belt present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes 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