Plant of the Month — April 2009
Halgania anagalloides Endl.
Halgania anagalloides, an erect, spiny shrub to 0.6m, while small, is generous in displaying its blooms of glorious blue to purple from August to May. Its soil preferences are varied and can be found in regions with soils over laterite, sandstone, granite or limestone. These occur between the Gascoyne division in the north to the Esperance Plains on the south coast of Western Australia; it does not occur on the Swan Coastal Plain.
A member of the Boraginaceae family, Halgania honours Emmanuel Halgan (1771-1852), a vice-admiral in the French navy. The plant was collected at Shark Bay on a French naval expedition, 1817-20, led by Captain Freycinet. The species epithet anagalloides derives from Anagallis the name used for the herb Pimpernel by Dioscorides (c. AD40-90) and Pliny (AD23-79) (who determined plants on their medicinal value) and oides from the Greek oeides - like, pimpernel-like.
Halgania anagalloides was described by Austrian botanist, Stephan Endlicher (1804-1849), a director of the Botanical Garden of Vienna. He wrote an extensive work detailing the Plant Kingdom according to a natural system, at the time its most comprehensive description. Endlicher described many new plant genera and also published early works on the flora of Australia. Many of his works are held in the Department’s Conservation Library.
Photo: G. Byrne
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