Spade Flower is a herb to 30 cm in dry eucalypt forest and wallum woodlands, flowering mostly in spring and summer but also throughout the year. Common on sandy soils from Illawarra region NSW to Bundaberg, host plant for common glasswing butterflies. Leaves alternate, green above, paler below. Flowers are spade shaped with one large lobe. Fruit is a small, ribbed capsule 4-5 mm with pitted seeds. Hybanthus from the Greek hybos meaning bump and anthos flower referring to the prominent bump of the petal. The previous name Enneasperma means nine seeds. The Violaceae are shrubs or herbs comprising about 16 genera and 800 species.

References and Resources

Australian Rainforest Plants in the forest and in the Garden by Nan and Hugh Nicholson Vols I-VI

Create More Butterflies by Frank Jordan and Helen Schwencke  

This book contains over 250 full-colour photos of butterfly lifecycles and caterpillar food plants for 48 different species of butterflies that occur in South-East Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Photo: Robert Whyte