Plant of the Month — July 2016
Hybanthus calycinus (Ging.) F.Muell.
Hybanthus calycinus (Wild Violet) is a delicate, perennial herb to 60 cm high. Its violet-blue flowers, which appear from late June to October, are easily recognised by their broad bottom petal which is much larger than the remaining four. It is endemic to the south-west of WA, occurring predominantly on the coastal plain between Kalbarri and Cape Leeuwin, where it grows in sandy soil in heath, woodland and shrubland.
The Violet family (Violaceae) is a cosmopolitan family with more than 1000 species of herbs, shrubs, climbers and trees. Hybanthus currently has around 115 species that are mostly from tropical and subarid regions. It is the third largest genus in the family (behind Viola and Rinorea) and the only one that is native to WA. However, several recent morphological and molecular studies have shown that generic boundaries in Hybanthus and allied genera need to be reviewed, which is likely to result in a new genus name for the 13 taxa currently recognised in WA.
Photo: R. Davis
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