Lobelia anceps


Lobelia: Named after Lobel, pioneer botanist
anceps: From the Latin an- 'two' and caputus 'head', meaning two-faced or two-edged

Common Name(s)

New Zealand Lobelia, shore Lobelia

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


Lobelia anceps L.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


Lobelia alata Labill


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.


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

Similar Taxa

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

Flower Colours



October - August

Propagation Technique

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.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 14

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



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.

This page last updated on 29 Oct 2014