White Bartsia

Bellardia trixago (L.) All.

Synonyms - Bartsia trixago

Family: Orobanchaceae (was Scrophulariaceae)

Names:

Bellardia commemorates C.A.L. Bellardi, the Professor of Botany at Turin University.
Trixago
White Bartsia because it has white flowers and was formerly in the Bartsia genus.

Other Names:

Bellardia.
Trixago Bartsia.

Summary:

An erect, annual that is sticky to touch, semi parasitic and grows to around 50 cm tall with toothed egg shaped hairy leaves. The flowers have white lower petals with pink to purple hooded upper petals and are in short dense spikes at the top of the plant from October to December.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

Leaves:

Opposite.
Petiole - None.
Blade - Oblong to lance shaped or parallel sided, 15-80 mm long x 2-10 mm wide, large, well separated teeth with obtuse tips occasionally cutting half way to the mid rib. Simple, curved and glandular hairs.

Stems:

Erect, 100-500 mm tall with glandular hairs. Often branched near the top.

Flower head:

Short, dense, leafy spike, up to 100 mm long at the ends of the stems or branches. Leaf like bracts under each flower.

Flowers:

White with a pink hood, on short stalks.
Ovary - Style is hairy, protrudes slightly from the flower. Stigma with a club shaped tip.
Sepals - 8-12 mm long, bell shaped with 2 deep egg shaped lips, 3-4 mm long. Each lip with 2, short, 0.5-2 mm long, obtuse tipped, broad different sized lobes.
Petals - Tubular, 18-30 mm long, 2 lipped. Lower lip white, spreading, 3 lobed with the middle lobe smaller than the side lobes. Upper lip pink to purplish, hooded. Glandular hairs.
Stamens - 4, 2 longer than the other 2. Filaments swollen near the base.
Anthers - 2-2.5 mm long, 2 celled, with a tiny pointed tip, dense curled hairs.

Fruit:

Globular to egg shaped capsule, 7-9 mm long x 5 mm wide, acute tip, glandular hairy, enclosed in the sepals. Capsule has many seeds. Releases seed by a lengthwise slit. 2 valves.

Seeds:

Tiny, lengthwise furrowed.

Roots:

Taproot with side roots that are semi parasitic on the roots of companion plants.

Key Characters:

White flowers. Corolla 2 lipped, tube not closed and not spurred. Calyx with 4 broad lobes of differing sizes. 4 stamens. Seed ridged lengthwise.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual. Seeds germinate in autumn and it grows in winter and spring to flower from mid spring to early summer.

Physiology:

Semi parasitic.

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

October to December in SA.
October to November in Perth.
Spring in WA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

None.

Hybrids:

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed and as a contaminant of grain and oilseeds.

Origin and History:

Mediterranean. Turkey. Iran. North east Africa.

Distribution:

NSW, SA, VIC, WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Mediterranean. Temperate

Soil:

Wet areas.

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Detrimental:

Weed of crops, pastures, roadsides, bush land, winter wet areas and disturbed areas.

Toxicity:

Possibly toxic but field cases are unconfirmed.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Thresholds:

Probably low because of its parasitic nature.

Eradication strategies:

Prevent seed set.
Diuron based products generally give good control.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

None.

Plants of similar appearance:

Bartsia (Parentucellia viscosa) is very similar but has yellow flowers.
Mulleins (Verbascum spp.) are larger with yellow flowers.
Pointed Toadflax (Kickxia elatine) has yellow flowers on long pedicels.
Lupins (Lupinus spp.) Has pea type flowers and pods.

References:

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P773.

Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P596. Photo.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P214. Photo.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #167.1.

Marchant et al (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P584.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.