Wahlenbergia matthewsii


Wahlenbergia: Named in honour of Wahlenberg, a Swedish botanist and author of A Botany of Lapland.
matthewsii: after Mathews

Common Name(s)

Rock harebell, Matthew's 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 - RR
2009 - DP


Wahlenbergia matthewsii Cockayne



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. South Island, Marlborough , Kaikoura Coast from the Flaxbourne River to Clarence River mouth and inland on the Chalk Range. Also known from the Pikikiruna Range at Gorge Creek (north-west Nelson)


Confined to calcareous rocks, especially fine grained limestone. Coastal to montane (0 - 800 m a.s.l.), and mainly restricted to gorges and steep cliffs. Less commonly found growing in boulder falls and on sparsely vegetated terraces.


Perennial, erect or spreading subshrub up ot 300 mm tall. Tap root fleshy, white, soon developing rhizomes. Stems arising from base, initally brownish-white, 2-3 mm diameter, soon purple-red to purple, glabrous, branching at the top into 2 or more almost naked scapes. Leaves crowded on stems, 10 x 1 to 50 x 3 mm, dark green, linear, glabrous, margins entire or distantly, finely toothed, sometimes recurved. Scapes 100-150 mm long, simple or branched again, bearing a few, distant, narrow linear bracts 5-15 mm long. Inflorescence, terminal, pedunculate. Calyx glabrous, 4-5 x 1 mm, linear-triangular. Flowers pale blue to pale blue-lilac with white zoning and deeper blue or violet veins, or completely white; corolla 20-40 mm diameter, deeply campnaulate with tube 7 x 5 to 9 x 6 mm, lobes spreading, 10 x 6 - 20 x 8 mm, ovate-lanceolate. Anthers linear, 4 mm long, style equalling corolla tube, stigma usually 2-lobed. Capsule glabrous, 6 x 4 to 12 x 6 mm long, domed obconic. Seeds 0.5 mm long.

Similar Taxa

None. The distinctive erect subshrub habit, and branches bearing numerous, crowded, dark green linear leaves set this species well apart from any of the other New Zealand Wahlenbergia Roth.


December - April

Flower Colours

Blue,Violet / Purple


January - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Does best in full sun, in a free draining, calcareous soil. Excellent in a rockery. A beautiful plant which deserves to be more widely cultivated than it is.


Abundant within its Marlborough range but rather uncommon in north-west Nelson. Browse dby animals where it is accessible but otherwise very common and not unduly threatened. This specie sis listed mainly because it is a narrow-range endemic.

Chromosome No.

2n = 36

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.


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