Photo: M. Fagg ANBG

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


Anthocercis intricata F.Muell., Fragm. Phytogr. Austral. 1: 211 (1859)

T: near Culla, between Murchison River and Port Gregory, W.A., A.Oldfield s.n.; syn: K, MEL.

 A. arborea F. Muell., Fragm. Phytogr. Austral. 1: 212 (1859).

 T: near Minanooka, between Port Gregory and Murchison River, W.A., A.Oldfield s.n.; syn: K, MEL.


Dense, rounded, spinescent shrub to 3 m tall, moderately to sparsely pubescent with glandular hairs and scattered non-glandular hairs; stems glabrescent. 

Leaves narrowly elliptic to obovate, almost sessile (or with petiole to 3 mm long), 10–30 mm long, 1.5–5.5 mm wide, (the juvenile leaves larger), entire.

Inflorescence cyme-like, 3–7–flowered, pedunculate; pedicels 5–12 mm long. Calyx 3–4 mm long. Corolla 15–21 mm long, creamy-white, the striations purple; lobes linear, 10–15 mm long. Stamens 2.5–4 mm long.

Capsule narrowly oblong-ellipsoid, often apiculate, 5–17 mm long. Seeds 1.6–2 mm long.

Distribution and ecology

Endemic in coastal south-western W.A. from Shark Bay to Geraldton.

Usually grows in small, scattered populations on consolidated dunes.


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.: c. 5 km S of Geraldton, A.M. Ashby 2870 (AD); c. 5 km from Geraldton, A.C. Burns 7 (PERTH); c. 5 km SE of Geraldton, L. Haegi 1941 (ADW, BRI, CANB, MEL, NSW, PERTH).


Derivation of epithet

From the Latin, intricatus, entangled or intricate, a reference to the growth-form of this plant.

Images and information on web

Images of A. intricata can be seen on the Western Australian Herbarium Florabase site 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

Plant status (if any)

Declared as Priority 3 - Poorly known based on Atkins (2008). See

Atkins, K.J. (2008). Declared Rare and Priority Flora List for Western Australia, 26 February 2008. (Dept of Environment and Conservation: Como, W.A.).