Plant of the Month — November 2014
Stylidium hygrophilum (the Blackwood Reed Triggerplant) is a leafless, perennial herb with a well-buried, rhizomatous stem, scapes to 70 cm high, and flowers arranged in dense or shortly elongated racemes. It has pale pink or apricot-pink corolla lobes, usually suffused a darker shade at the margins and on the undersurface, and with pinkish red throat markings and glandular-hairy throat appendages. Stylidium hygrophilum flowers in November and is restricted to swampy habitats on the Blackwood Plateau south of Busselton. Recent surveys conducted by Department of Parks and Wildlife staff suggest that it is extremely rare.
This new species was recently described by Juliet Wege in our journal Nuytsia and is one of eight reed-like triggerplants found in the south-west of Western Australia. It was first collected by colonial botanists in the mid-1800s but their collections were sent to herbaria in London and Melbourne, where the species remained undetected for more than 150 years. It was eventually recollected by Ray Cranfield during a 2001 survey of the Central Forest Region, and later discovered by Juliet at the Western Australian Herbarium as part of her taxonomic assessment of the state’s Stylidium holdings.
Photo: J. Wege
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