Brunoniella australis

Family Acanthaceae

Herb 2–15 cm high with clusters of tuberous roots joined by underground rhizome. Leaf surface with cystoliths - mineral concentration usually of calcium carbonate. Longevity indefinite.

Flowers: Purple, less than 20 mm diameter from October - April. Some flowers possibly self-pollinated.

Fruit: Capsule 10–16 mm long that splits in half at maturity releasing 8–12 seeds, matures November–December.

Seed: Flattened dark brown seed 2 x 2 mm . Germinates readily under a variety of temperature conditions. No specialised dispersal mechanism, seed dispersed locally by gravity. Seeds predated by small midges.

Gallery images: seed, seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Common plant in woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden in full sun to shady positions.
  • Spread by underground rhizome.
  • Good indicator of remnant woodland sites.
  • Resprouting at ground level after fire, probably forming localised patches.
  • Probably dependent on fire to remove competition from taller species.
  • May flower within a month of fire.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Brunoniella australis plant

Brunoniella australis flower

Brunoniella australis fruit

Brunoniella australis seed