Seeds of South Australia
Cullen tenax (Leguminosae)
Tough Scurf-pea
List of species for Cullen
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Seed collecting:
January to December
Herbarium regions:
Flinders Ranges, Eastern
NRM region:
South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Southern Flinders (FLB04)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i))   [at least RA]
Barrier Range (BHC01)Broken Hill Complex
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i))
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 Cullen]
Name derivation:
Cullen named after William Cullen (1710-1790), a Scottish physician and chemist who lectured at the University of Glasgow on botany, among other things.  Tenax from the Latin 'tenax' meaning holding fast, clinging, firm.
Known only  from two records in South Australia from Mingary in EA region and Mount Brown CP growing in grassland and grassy woodland on heavy soils. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Native. Very rare in south Australia. Rare in Victoria. Common in the other States.
Plant description:
Perennial herb with stems to 50 cm long, decumbent, procumbent or erect; glabrous or with minute appressed hairs. Leaves mostly to 15 cm long, palmately compound, mostly with 5–7 leaflets or sometimes lower leaves 3-foliate; leaflets usually linear-lanceolate to oblong-elliptic, or elliptic to oblanceolate, or rarely obovate to 6 cm long and 15 mm wide; margins entire or rarely coarsely crenate; both surfaces sparsely hairy and dotted with minute glands. Flower-spike to 5 cm long with bluish or mauve-purple pea-flowers. Flowers most of the year.
Fruit type:
Black pod to 3 mm long, wrinkled, glabrous with one seed inside.
Seed type:
Black ovoid seed to 3 mm long and 2 mm wide, with rugose and tuberculate surface, covered in scattered white hairs.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Collect maturing pods, those that are fat, turning black and contain a brown seed inside, by running your hands along the fruit-spikes.
Seed cleaning:
Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for 1 to 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 germination:
This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).