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Lobelia purpurascens R.Br.
Family Campanulaceae
Common name: Whiteroot

Lobelia purpurascens R.Br. APNI*

Synonyms: 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.

Photo L. von Richter

Photo W. Cherry

Other photo
Photo L. von Richter

Flowering: October–June.

Distribution and occurrence: Grows in shady wet areas in wet sclerophyll forest, woodland and grassland; widespread.

Often found growing in shady lawns in urban areas, known to contain the alkaloid lobeline.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC, NT, CT, NWS, CWS, SWS, *LHI
Other Australian states: Qld Vic.
AVH map***

Text by B. Wiecek
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 3 (1992) as Pratia purpurascens

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.
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