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Genus Wahlenbergia Family Campanulaceae

Description: Annual or perennial herbs with a taproot and sometimes extensive rhizomes; stems erect or ascending, terete.

Leaves alternate, opposite or sometimes whorled, ± sessile, decreasing in size up the stem, margins usually bearing small callus teeth.

Inflorescences terminal, cymose or flowers solitary. Sepals usually 5, persistent in fruit. Corolla campanulate or rotate, usually 5-lobed. Stamens usually 5; anthers withering before the flower opens, filaments expanded, ciliate, sometimes persistent in fruit. Ovary inferior, 2–5-locular; upper part of style with pollen presenting hairs.

Capsule opening by apical slits.


Photo © ANBG

Other photo
Photo T.M. Tame

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 200 species, mostly Southern Hemisphere. Australia: 26 species (21 species endemic, 1 species naturalized), all States.

Text by P. J. Smith
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Wahlenbergia gymnoclada,    Wahlenbergia insulae-howei,    Wahlenbergia rupicola,    Wahlenbergia telfordii

 Key to the species 
1Flowers solitary; perennials growing in rock crevices in the McPherson Ra. or on the tablelands at higher altitudes2
Flowers in cymose inflorescences (sometimes solitary in young or annual plants); annuals or perennials; widespread6
2Tufted, much-branched plants growing in rock crevices; flower stalks 1–5 cm long; corolla lobes 5–9 mm long; confined to the McPherson Range3
Plants with spreading rhizomes and erect, stems mostly unbranched; flower stalks 3–40 cm long; corolla lobes 10–25 mm long; on the tablelands, mainly in subalpine areas
                       Back to 1
4
3Plants hirsute; leaves ellipticWahlenbergia scopulicola
Plants glabrous; leaves linear to narrow-elliptic
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Wahlenbergia glabra
4Lower leaves 5–15 mm long, 1–2 mm wide; style usually 2-fidWahlenbergia densifolia
Lower leaves 10–50 mm long, 4–15 mm wide; style 2- or 3-fid
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5
5Corolla blue; style 3-fid; leaves alternate, margins more or less flatWahlenbergia ceracea
Corolla purple; style usually 2-fid; leaves alternate or opposite, margins undulate
                       Back to 4
Wahlenbergia gloriosa
6Annuals with thin taproots; uppermost leaves and bracts ovate or lanceolate; lower leaves usually opposite, obovate to elliptic7
Perennials developing thickened taproots (except for some annual Wahlenbergia tumidifructa); uppermost leaves and bracts oblong or linear; lower leaves opposite or alternate, broad or narrow
                       Back to 1
8
7Corolla lobes 0.5–5 mm long, 1–2 times as long as the tube; sepals oblongWahlenbergia gracilenta
Corolla lobes 6–12 mm long, 2–4 times as long as the tube; sepals triangular
                       Back to 6
Wahlenbergia victoriensis
8Corolla rotate, lobes more than 4 times as long as the tube; style strongly constricted near the stigmatic lobes9
Corolla campanulate, lobes less than 4 times as long as the tube; style not constricted or constricted about halfway down
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11
9Capsules elongated-obconic, more than twice as long as broad; corolla lobes 2–5 mm long, rarely to 9 mmWahlenbergia multicaulis
Capsules semiglobose or obconic, less than twice as long as broad; corolla lobes 3–14 mm long
                       Back to 8
10
10Plants typically few-stemmed; lower leaves obovate or oblanceolate; corolla lobes 5–14 mm long; eastern half of StateWahlenbergia planiflora
Plants typically much-branched; lower leaves linear or oblanceolate; corolla lobes 3–9 mm long; chiefly on inland floodplains
                       Back to 9
Wahlenbergia fluminalis
11Lower leaves opposite, linear; capsules elongated-obconic, at least 3 times as long as broadWahlenbergia luteola
Lower leaves alternate or, if opposite, then broader than linear and capsules less than 3 times as long as broad
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12
12Corolla lobes c. 3 times as long as the tube13
Corolla lobes 1–2 times as long as the tube
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15
13Lower leaves linear or narrow-oblanceolate; plants more or less glabrous (except for an hirsute form in SFWP); corolla lobes 5–9 mm longWahlenbergia littoricola
Lower leaves obovate or oblanceolate; plants glabrous to hirsute; corolla lobes 5–19 mm long
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14
14Plants typically few-stemmed, hirsute towards the base; corolla lobes 6–19 mm long; widespread, tablelands to far-western plainsWahlenbergia graniticola
Plants typically much-branched, glabrous or with scattered hairs; corolla lobes 5–8 mm long; confined to NFWP
                       Back to 13
Wahlenbergia aridicola
15Corolla tube 4–11 mm long, longer than the ovary; corolla lobes 6–20 mm long16
Corolla tube 1–5 mm long, equal to or shorter than the ovary; corolla lobes 1.5–7 mm long
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18
16At least the lowermost leaves opposite; sepals 3–16 mm long; capsules ellipsoid or globoseWahlenbergia stricta
All leaves alternate, rarely the lowermost opposite; sepals 1–6 mm long; capsules obconic or semiglobose
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17
17Capsules obconic or elongated-obconic, 4–9 mm long; lower leaves linear or oblanceolate; plants typically glabrousWahlenbergia communis
Capsules semiglobose or shortly obconic, 1.5–5 mm long; lower leaves oblanceolate or obovate; plants typically hirsute towards the base
                       Back to 16
Wahlenbergia queenslandica
18Perennials; capsules obconic; widespread, coast to western plainsWahlenbergia gracilis
Annuals or perennials; capsules cylindric or globose, appearing swollen, especially in perennials; western plains and far western plains, growing in drier habitats than Wahlenbergia gracilis
                       Back to 15
Wahlenbergia tumidifructa

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