Comesperma defoliatum F.Muell.

Leafless Milkwort

Pl. Victoria 1: 189 (1862) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Slender glabrous subshrub to c. 40 cm high; stems mostly unbranched, angled, smooth, arising annually from a short woody rhizome. Leaves absent or few toward base, linear to narrowly oblanceolate, 5–15 mm long, 1–2 mm wide. Flowers blue or purplish, in a terminal raceme; pedicels 2–4 mm long; sepals free, the outer 3 obovate, 3–4 mm long, the adaxial one slightly pouched at base, wings obovate, slightly to c. 1.5 times longer than outer sepals, keel pouched in the upper third, c. 3 mm long; upper petals oblong, shortly exceeding and united with keel for most of their length. Capsule obovate or obcordate, long-tapered to base, 6.5–8 mm long; seeds plumply ovoid, 1.5–2.5 mm long, shortly pubescent all over, with a coma of silky hairs c. 5 mm long mostly from the base. Flowers mostly Dec.–Mar.

EGL, GipP, Glep, GGr, LoM, OtP, OtR, VAlp, VVP, WaP, WPro. Also Qld, NSW, Tas. Scattered on wettish lowland heaths eastwards from near the South Australian border, but seldom common (although possibly overlooked due to its inconspicuous habit).

Records of this species from mallee areas are the result of misidentification of virtually leafless forms of C. calymega apparently a consequence of rapid growth following 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: Neville Walsh, 2014-09-09
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 defoliatum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Comesperma defoliatum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Greater Grampians present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Otway Ranges present native
Victorian Alps present native

State distribution

Distribution map
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory