Wahlenbergia gloriosa

Distribution Map
Family: Campanulaceae
Distribution: Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, at higher altitudes.
Common Name: Royal bluebell.
Derivation of Name: Wahlengbergia; after Georg Goran Wahlenberg (1780-1851).
gloriosa; from Latin, gloriosa, superb or glorious.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

The genus Wahlenbergia occurs in South Africa, South America, New Zealand and Australia. W. gloriosa is restricted to the high mountain forests and woodlands of the ACT, south-eastern New South Wales and eastern Victoria, above about 1,300 metres. It grows in the most uninviting, dry, stony habitats, often exposed to full sun and strong winds.

Wahlenbergia gloriosa


Wahlenbergia gloriosa
Photo: Murray Fagg - Australian National Botanic Gardens

Wahlenbergia gloriosa is a perennial herb with several to many simple stems sometimes branching above the short leafy basal portion; leaves are dark green, up to 25 mm long, widest at the top. The deep blue flowers are seen in late spring and summer and are erect on long slender stems with a few distant narrow bracts and about 30 mm in diameter. There are usually five petals. The fruit is a capsule, 12 to 15 mm long and 5-6 mm in diameter.

W.gloriosa is not widely cultivated and can be short lived away from semi alpine habitat. It does best in a light, enriched soil in either a sunny or semi-shaded situation. The soil can be enriched by use of a well rotted compost or other organic matter. As the plant is very shallow rooted, the soil should be kept moist but not water-logged. Even though it suckers, it does not have the potential to become a problem in the garden.

Propagation is usually by division but seed (which is not often available) also germinates readily.

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