Seeds of South Australia
Cyperus dactylotes (Cyperaceae)
Finger Flat-sedge
List of species for Cyperus
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Seed collecting:
January to December
Herbarium regions:
Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens
NRM region:
South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Torrens (GAW06)Gawler
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Oodnadatta (STP02)Stony Plains
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Witjira (STP06) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Baltana (STP07) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Lake Pure (CHC07) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
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 Cyperus]
Name derivation:
Cyperus from the Latin 'cyperos' and derived from the Greek 'kypeiros', an ancient Greek name used by Homer and Theophrastus for several plants of this genus. Dactylotes from the Greek 'dactylos' meaning finger.
Found scattered in north-east South Australia growing in seasonally wet situations such as stream banks and floodplains. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.
Native. Rare in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Plant description:
Densely tufted, erect perennial sedge to 100 cm high. Stems relatively slender, though up to 5 mm thick; obtusely trigonous, finely striate, smooth. Leaves narrow, mostly complicate (infolded in half), more or less distinctly septate-nodulose, more than half as long as the stems; involucral bracts 2-5, most of them longer or much longer than the inflorescence and similar in appearance to the leaves. Flower-spike an umbel compound or not; spreading, with several to numerous slender rays to 14 cm long; secondary rays well-developed; spikelets digitate or subdigitate, numerous in each cluster; linear, acute, rich-yellow or becoming paler and dull, 5-15 mm long, 1.2-2 mm wide, usually 10-40-flowered; rhachilla slender, almost unwinged; glumes short, rather distant and soon spreading; the margins then more or less involute, very obtuse and mucronate in profile, keeled and several-nerved, c. 1.5-2.1 mm long; stamens 3; style 3-branched. Flowers in spring and summer.
Fruit type:
Flat, pale yellow fruit-head in dense clusters.
Seed type:
Brown oblong-triangular seed to 1.5 mm long and 0.5 mm wide with fine reticulate surface covered with a thin shiny transparent layer.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Collect fruits by picking off the mature heads, those turning an pale yellow colour that come-off easily.
Seed cleaning:
Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the heads with a rubber bung 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 three collections, the seed viability was low to high, ranging from 40% to 85%.
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
40000 (2.82 g)
40000 (2.82 g)
Lake Eyre
19-Sep-200840%+5°C, -18°C
57000 (10.4 g)
57000 (10.4 g)
Lake Eyre
BGA162000 (17.26 g)5011-Aug-2010DJD1826
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.