Plant of the Month — September 2007
Dampiera lavandulacea Lindl.
This small shrub or perennial herb, although only attaining heights between 0.2–0.9 m, is a stand-out feature in the bushland from July to November. It is classified as having an erect or ascending habit and its flowers of deep blue and sometimes purple make brilliant roadside displays throughout winter and spring.
Dampiera lavandulacea has a wide distribution from Albany to Esperance in the south and through to Geraldton in the north and Balladonia in the east. The concentration of its distribution is east of Perth, predominantly in the Avon botanical region. Soil preferences for this shrub include sandy or clayey soils, often with gravel.
Dampieras belong to the Goodeniaceae family and derive their genus name from William Dampier (1652–1715), the English navigator-buccaneer-botanist who visited the northwest coast of WA in 1688 and 1699. The species name lavandulacea comes from Latin meaning lavender-coloured. Dampiera lavendulacea is one of the 17 plants collected by Dampier in WA that were the first Australian plants to reach European herbaria; about a dozen of these are still preserved in the Sherardian Library in Oxford. This plant is available from wildflower nurseries and makes an excellent rockery, basket specimen or groundcover to add some interesting WA history to a WA garden.
Photo: B.A. Fuhrer
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