Photo: J. Wrigley J. Wrigley

Line drawing by M. Perkins (from L.Haegi, unpubl. thesis).


Anthocercis ilicifolia Hook. subsp. caldariola Haegi, Telopea 2: 174 (1981)

T: c. 10 km SSW of Kalbarri, W.A., 5 Sept. 1979, L. Haegi 1966; holo: PERTH; iso: CANB, K, NSW.


Erect shrub to 2.7 m with 1 or 2 stems, branches often tinged with purple, branches and leaves glabrous, rarely with scattered glandular hairs; seedlings with prickles on stems.  

Leaves obovate to narrowly obovate-elliptic, occasionally spathulate or elliptic, sessile or almost so, 15–80 mm long, 7–35 mm wide, thick and fleshy, entire, or the juvenile leaves dentate.  

Inflorescence panicle-like, leafless except at base; pedicels 3–8 mm long. Calyx 4–8 mm long; tube markedly bulbous, contracted immediately below lobes and widest at middle, maximum diam. 4–5 mm, thick-textured.  Corolla 12–27 mm long, bright yellow, the striations purple to maroon; tube often tinged with purple outside; lobes linear, 6–18 mm long, 3–6 mm wide. Stamens 4–10 mm long; upper stamens 7.5–10 mm long. 

Capsule narrowly ovoid-ellipsoid, acute to apiculate, 11–21 mm long. Seeds 1.4–1.9 mm long.

Distribution and ecology

Endemic to the Kalbarri area, W.A.

Common along roadsides and in disturbed areas.


Distinct from subsp. ilicifolia by the bulbous and thick-textured calyx tube and by the distribution restricted to the Kalbarri region.

Easily confused with A. littorea Labill., with which it is sympatric; distinguished by the large, pyramidal, leafless inflorescence, brighter yellow flowers, larger corolla tube and broader corolla lobes.

Fruit often malformed due to galling.

Phylogenetic studies by Garcia & Olmstead (2003) on the Tribe Anthocercideae using two chloroplast DNA regions included this species. The studies indicated that Anthocercis is monophyletic.

Reference: V.F.Garcia & R.G.Olmstead (2003). Phylogenetics of Tribe Anthocercideaea (Solanaceae) based on ndhF and trnL/F sequence data. Systematic Botany 28: 609-615.

Selected specimens

W.A.: Kalbarri, K.M. Allan 201 (AD, MEL, PERTH); 2 km E of Kalbarri, L.Haegi 1148 (AD, BIRM, BRI, F, MEL, MO, NSW, PERTH); 4 km S of Kalbarri, P.G. Wilson 6555 (PERTH).


Derivation of epithet

From Ilex, the holly and folius, Latin for leaf, a reference to resemblance of the leaves of this plant to a holly plant.

Images and information on web

Images of A. ilicifolia ssp. caldariola can be seen on the Western Australia Herbarium Florabase website at

Pharmacology: A discussion of the tropane alkaloids which occur in Anthocercis and other Anthocercideae can be found in Griffith & Lin (2000).

Ref: W.J. Griffin & G.D. Lin (2000). Chemotaxonomy and geographical distribution of tropane alkaloids. Phytochemistry 53: 627–628.

References to the possible toxic properties of Anthocercis species can be found with a search in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database