New Zealand lobelia, shore lobelia
Lobelia alata Labill
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
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.
2n = 14
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Indigenous. New Zealand: Kermadec, Three Kings, North, South and Chatham Islands. Also present in Australia, South America (Chile) and South Africa
Coastal to lowland. Usually in exposed sites on rocky shores, cobble beaches, cliff faces, at the back of saltmarshes in and around seepages. Also along riversides and around inland lakes and/or in seepages within open lowland forest.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
FACW: Facultative Wetland
Usually is a hydrophyte but occasionally found in uplands (non-wetlands).
Herb forming diffuse to compact patches up to 400 mm long, with vegetative parts glabrous; sap clear. Stems erect to wide spreading or prostrate, not usually rooting at nodes; branchlets narrowly winged, grooved. Leaves very variable; petioles flat, to c.10 mm long. Lamina submembranous to ± succulent, entire or variously toothed; lamina of lower leaves 10-50 × 5-20 mm, broad-ovate to oblong-ovate, sometimes purplish, decurrent at base. Leaves becoming narrower and petioles shorter above; uppermost leaves sessile, narrow, linear to lanceolate or spathulate, 10-60 × 1-5 mm (sometimes leaf shape varies little from base to shoot apex). Peduncles 2-7 mm long, usually puberulent. Calyx lobes 0.9-1.5 mm long, linear to triangular, acute or acuminate. Corolla 6-10 mm long, white, pale blue (often deeper blue on lower lip), less commonly pale pink; lobes of lower lip 5-8 mm long, linear to oblong. Capsule 6-12 mm long, narrow-clavate to almost cylindric
Recognised by the sprawling to erect stems, entire or toothed fleshy green, yellow-green to red-green leaves, pale blue, mauve to dark blue flowers, and dehiscent, 2-valved narrowly clavate to cylindric capsule
August - May
October - August
Easily grown from fresh seed, stem cuttings and rooted pieces. Some forms are rather colourful. However, as a rule a little non-descript and weedy for most gardens. Kermadec Islands forms have very much wider leaves than other New Zealand plants and are worth further investigation.
lobelia: Named after Lobel, pioneer botanist
anceps: From the Latin an- ‘two’ and caputus ‘head’, meaning two-faced or two-edged
Fact Sheet by P.J. de Lange 2 February 2006. Description based on Allan (1961), Webb et al. (1988) supplemented with observations made from fresh material
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Government Printer, Wellington.
Webb CJ, Sykes WR, Garnock-Jones PJ 1988. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Lobelia anceps Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/lobelia-anceps/ (Date website was queried)