Wahlenbergia cartilaginea


Wahlenbergia: Named in honour of Wahlenberg, a Swedish botanist and author of A Botany of Lapland.
cartilaginea: like cartilage

Common Name(s)

Scree Harebell

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Range Restricted


2012 - Sp


Wahlenbergia cartilaginea Hook.f.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Inland Kaikoura and Amuri Ranges from Mt. Tapuaenuku to Mt. Terako and Mt. Percival, and drainage areas of upper Wairau, Waiau, Clarence, and Awatere rivers)


Mostly subalpine to alpine (rarely within montane areas on shingle beds and slips along riversides). Endemic to deep fine greywacke screes and semi-consolidated debris slopes.


A perennial deep-rooting rhizomatous scree plant with distant rosettes of very thick, glaucous, (sometimes yellowish) sessile leaves, glabrous or pubescent. Leaves 8 × 5-25 × 15 mm, spathulate, obtuse, narrowed to a thick flat petiole; margins entire, thickened, cartilaginous. Scapes 20-30 mm long, stout, glaucous, with 1-3 small bracts, usually simple and stiff. Flower Insect-pollinated, c.12 mm long, 8-12 mm diameter, lilac or white, scented. Corolla broadly funnel-shaped, 5-partite, tube c.5 × 6 mm, lobes c. 7 × 5 mm, enclosed within the large calyx lobes which are thick and coriaceous, glabrous, linear-oblong, obtuse, 6 × 2 to 10 × 3 mm. Capsule glabrous, often glaucous, globose to broadly turbinate, c.8 × 8 to 10 × 10 mm. Seeds larger than in other species, 1 mm long, ellipsoid, glossy brown when mature.

Similar Taxa

Easily separated from other Wahlenbergia Roth by its restriction to mobile scree habitats,by its thick greyish or yellowish leaves borne in widely spaced, separate rosettes, short thick flower stems, calyx lobes about as long as corolla, and by its fragrant insect-pollinated flowers.


December - January

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


January - March

Propagation Technique

Can be grown in a rockery or an alpine house but generally regarded as difficult. Best from fresh seed.


A naturally uncommon, narrow range endemic that is sparsely distributed over a wide area of scree in eastern Marlborough. Although not considered threatened, some populations suffer from browsing caused by sheep, goats, rabbits hares and other livestock.

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