Plants of
South Australia
Wahlenbergia capillaris
Tufted Bluebell
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 9

Prior names

Wahlenbergia capillaris, nom.nud., questionably


Wahlenbergia named by H.A Schrader in honour of Georg Göran Wahlenberg (1780–1851), a Swedish professor of botany. Capillaris from Latin meaning hair-like.

Distribution and status

Found across much of South Australia except on Kangaroo Island, in a range of habitat. Also found in all mainland states. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial tufted herbs with a fleshy rootstock with many stems from base, usually branched, rarely simple, glabrous, or hirsute near base, erect, to 50 cm high, leafy throughout or only toward base. Leaves alternate, oblanceolate (near base) to linear, to 50 mm long and 6 mm wide, margins entire or with a few small callus-teeth, flat or undulate. Flowers terminal, blue often whitish outside, funnel-shaped with 5 narrow-triangular lobes. Flowers throughout the year. Fruits are brown ovoid capsule to 9 mm long and 5 mm wide. Seeds are tiny orange elliptic seed to 0.6 mm long and 0.3 mm wide. Seed embryo type is spatulate under-developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect capsules that are maturing, drying and turning orange with hard seeds inside. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for a week. Then rub the capsules gently with your hands to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be careful as the seeds are very small. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From three collections, the seed viability were high, ranging from 80% to 85%.