Plant of the month – Dec 2017


(Wahlenbergia stricta)

(Photos: C. Schultz: Left to Right. Single plant with one flower; flower from above, flower from the side)

There are quite a lot of Wahlenbergias, all commonly thought of as bluebells. Nearly every continent has its own varieties! The bluebells at Cape Jervis are only knee high, but flower prolifically over spring and summer. You will notice the pretty purple-blue flowers waving in the breeze, above the low growing grasses and herbs. Stems are thin, with leaves often paired at the bottom but alternating further up towards the flowers. The flowers themselves are 5-petalled, normally with a tube beneath the lobes. The plants produce tubers underground which can be used to produce other plants by division. They also grow from seed or cuttings. In some Wahlenbergias both the flowers and the tubers are edible.