Seeds of South Australia
Cleome viscosa (Capparaceae)
Mustard Bush
List of species for Cleome
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Seed collecting:
July to December
Herbarium regions:
North Western, Lake Eyre, Flinders Ranges
NRM regions:
Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Northern Flinders (FLB05)Flinders Lofty Block
 Least Concern   [common roadside spp]
Kintore (GVD04)Great Victoria Desert
 Least Concern   [common roadside spp]
Tallaringa (GVD05) 
 Least Concern   [common roadside spp]
Warriner (SSD04)Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields
 Least Concern
Breakaways (STP01)Stony Plains
 Least Concern   [common roadside spp]
Oodnadatta (STP02) 
 Least Concern   [common roadside spp]
Murnpeowie (STP03) 
 Least Concern
Peake-Dennison Inlier (STP04) 
 Least Concern
Macumba (STP05) 
 Least Concern
Witjira (STP06) 
 Least Concern
Baltana (STP07) 
 Least Concern
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Least Concern
Coongie (CHC06) 
 Least Concern
Lake Pure (CHC07) 
 Least Concern
Mann-Musgrave Block (CER01)Central Ranges
 Least Concern   [common roadside spp]
Watarru (CER02) 
 Least Concern   [common roadside spp]
Pedirka (FIN04)Finke
 Least Concern   [common roadside spp]
IBRA regions
Northern Flinders (FLB05)Flinders Lofty BlockLeast Concern
  [common roadside spp]
2 of 4 subregionsGreat Victoria DesertLeast Concern
Warriner (SSD04)Simpson Strzelecki DunefieldsLeast Concern
7 of 7 subregionsStony PlainsLeast Concern
3 of 4 subregionsChannel CountryLeast Concern
2 of 3 subregionsCentral RangesLeast Concern
Pedirka (FIN04)FinkeLeast Concern
  [common roadside spp]
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Cleome]
Name derivation:
Cleome an ancient name for a mustard-like plant, given by Octavius Horatianus, a Roman physician. Viscosa from the Latin 'viscosus' meaning sticky; alluding to the plant being viscous.
Found in the northern part of South Australia, associated with river beds, creeks or waterholes. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.
Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Annual herbs with few erect branches each faintly ridged and with glandular hairs. Leaves petiolate, with 3-5 leaflets more or less with glandular hairs. Leaflets oblanceolate, rarely obovate or elliptic, acute to rounded. Flower-head a raceme with leaf-like bracts usually trifoliolate and sessile with large yellow flowers. Flowering between February and October, possibly all year.
Fruit type:
Long brown linear-oblong pod to 8 cm long and 4 mm broad, with raised veins forming vertical ridges on the valves, erect on the stem.
Seed type:
Dark brown reniform seed to 1.5 mm diameter, surface rugose with more or less well developed transverse ridges from the centre.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Collect mature pods that are turning brown with hard, dark seeds inside.
Seed cleaning:
Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for 1-2 weeks or until the pods begin to split. Then rub the dried pods to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.
Seed viability:
From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 85%.
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA17100 (17.32 g)50+25-Oct-2007TST212
Lake Eyre
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.