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Genus Colobanthus Family Caryophyllaceae

Description: Small tufted perennial herbs, much branched from base.

Leaves sessile, imbricate, narrow-linear to triangular, sometimes rigid and pungent or ending in a fine hair.

Flowers bisexual, solitary, on slender or thickened pedicels. Sepals 5, free, acute to obtuse. Petals absent. Stamens usually 5, alternating with sepals. Ovary 1-locular; styles 5.

Capsule as long as or longer than calyx, opening by 5 obtuse teeth; seeds ovoid to globose, numerous.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 20 species, chiefly in the mountainous and southern regions of South America, New Zealand, & Australia. Australia: 4 species (endemic), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas., S.A., W.A.

Text by A. Doust
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves less than 6 mm long, narrow-triangular to lanceolate, rigid, spreading or suberect2
Leaves more than 10 mm long, linear, soft, grass-like, often recurved, somewhat flaccid3
2Leaves spreading, channelled above, convex below; with thickened margins, a prominently keeled midrib and a pungent apex; pedicels 1–2 mm long, thickened, shorter than calyxColobanthus pulvinatus
Leaves suberect with flat margins, a flattened midrib and an acicular but not pungent-pointed apex; pedicels slender, 3–10 mm long, at least as long as calyx
                       Back to 1
Colobanthus nivicola
3Capsules c. 4 mm long, longer than the calyx; pedicel 25–60 mm long; sepals broad-triangular, obtuse to subacute, c. 3 mm longColobanthus affinis
Capsules c. 3 mm long, as long as the calyx; pedicel usually 8–12 mm long; sepals acuminate, 2.5–4 mm long
                       Back to 1
Colobanthus apetalus

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