Wahlenbergia albomarginata subsp. decora


Wahlenbergia: Named in honour of Wahlenberg, a Swedish botanist and author of A Botany of Lapland.
albomarginata: white-margined
decora: Beautiful

Common Name(s)

New Zealand harebell, harebell

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Wahlenbergia albomarginata subsp. decora J.A.Petterson



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


None (described in 1997)


Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Nelson Lakes National Park; possibly also North-west Nelson and Fiordland)


Alpine. Inhabiting scree margins and rock crevices


Perennial herb with stout taproot, and short crowded tufts of rosulate leaves, radical leaves sparse, these sometimes alternate on elongated stems (shade form). Leaves dark green, yellow-green to red green (not drying glaucous), more or less petiolate, dentate to serrate, lamina 10 × 2 to 40 × 10 mm, obovate to oblanceolate, marginal teeth conspicuous, gradually narrowed to petiole as long as the lamina or longer. Flowers fragrant, insect-pollinated, borne on short, slender scapes 30-100 mm long; narrowly campanulate-rotate, corolla pale flax blue to pale blue-violet, often with white zoning and deeper coloured veins, or all white, 15-20 mm diameter, 10-15 mm long, corolla tube 4 × 3 to 10 × 6 mm, lobes 6 × 3 to 12 × 5 mm; style equal in length to corolla tube, lobes 2 or 3. Calyx lobes less than ¼ corolla length; capsule domed cylindric, 6-8 × 4 mm. Seeds 0.5 mm long, ellipsoid, smooth, glossy brown when mature.

Similar Taxa

Similar to subsp. laxa (G.Simpson) J.A.Petterson, from which it differs mostly by its restriction to high alpine habitats; development of a strong taproot; development of short crowded rosettes in scree habitats; slender, short (30-100 mm long) scapes; fragrant flowers that are 15-20 mm diameter and 10-15 mm long. The distinctions between subsp. decora and subsp. albomarginata, subsp. laxa and subsp. flexilis (Petrie) J.A.Petterson, appear trivial and overlapping. The taxonomic status of all these subspecies (except perhaps subsp. olivina J.A.Petterson) seems questionable, and would repay further critical study.


November – April

Flower Colours

Blue,Violet / Purple


December - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from tip cuttings and the division of whole plants. Fresh seed germinates readily. Being insect-pollinated and having an indigenous pollinator, cultivated plants rarely set seed.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 36

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available.


Fact Sheet Prepared by P.J. de Lange 12 June 2007. Description adapted from Petterson (1997).

References and further reading

Petterson, J.A. 1997: Revision of the genus Wahlenbergia (Campanulaceae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botanv 35: 9-54.

This page last updated on 17 Apr 2014