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Australian Bluebell

Name:

Australian Bluebell

Botanical name:

Wahlenbergia gracilis

Description:

We often don’t notice smaller flowers and fail to appreciate that there is beauty in the small as well as the large. Australian Bluebell is a classic example; this plant often goes completely unnoticed, even when in flower, but although it is not as showy as some its bigger cousins, the flowers are nevertheless beautiful.

Australian Bluebell is one of 21 Australian Wahlenbergia species; 19 of these are found in NSW, including Royal Bluebell (Wahlenbergia gloriosa), the floral emblem of the ACT. Wahlenbergia belongs to the same family (Campanulaceae) as the widely cultivated Bellflowers (Campanula). Australian Bluebell is the smallest flowered Bluebell in Sydney. In NSW it occurs predominantly on the coast and tablelands but is scattered into the western plains.

Australian Bluebell is a small herb (‘herb’ in the botanical sense indicates a non-woody plant, as opposed to woody plants such as trees and shrubs), with tufts of leaves near the ground. The flowers are from 3 to 11mm long, and are scattered in few-flowered inflorescences (sprays) to 80cm high, but often much shorter, even as low as 5cm. Flowering occurs throughout the year but predominantly from spring through summer.

Where can Australian Bluebells be seen in the Parklands?

Australian Bluebell occurs in many different habitats including roadsides and lawns. It is widespread throughout the Parklands, and may be found in many lawn areas. The best places to see this plant are those open areas of Centennial Park where the grass is left to grow fairly tall, such as on the sand hills above the Kensington Pond, near Alison Road.

Frank Hemmings

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