Common name: Whiteroot
Pratia purpurascens (R.Br.) E.Wimm. APNI*
Description: Glabrous herb, dioecious; stems procumbent or ascending, often > 30 cm long; with long white rhizomes.
Leaves ovate to lanceolate, usually 1–2 cm long, mostly 4–10 mm wide, margins toothed, lower surface purplish; ± sessile.
Flowers unisexual, axillary; pedicels 1–7 cm long, often reflexed in fruit. Calyx lobes 1.5–3.5 mm long, with basal tooth on each side. Corolla 8–10 mm long, pale purplish pink, bluish to lilac; lobes unequal, lower lobes oblong-obtuse, 2 upper ones erect, acuminate and incurved, shorter and half as wide as the upper pair. Male flowers with anthers glabrous except the lowest ones with 1 or 2 apical bristles; ovary rudimentary. Female flowers with smaller sterile anthers; ovary 2–4 mm long.
Fruit 3–10 mm long, 3–6 mm wide, glabrous, tardily dehiscent, opening in 2 valves.
Distribution and occurrence: Grows in shady wet areas in wet sclerophyll forest, woodland and grassland; widespread.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC, NT, CT, NWS, CWS, SWS, *LHI
Other Australian states: Qld Vic.
A common garden weed, known to contain the alkaloid lobeline.
Text by B. Wiecek
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 3 (1992)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.