Seeds of South Australia
Dichanthium sericeum ssp. sericeum (Gramineae)
Silky Blue-grass
List of species for Dichanthium
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Seed collecting:
December to June
Herbarium regions:
North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Southern Lofty
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(iii); D2)   (Probable Decline)   [grass-land sp, clay soils; expressway has destroyed populations]
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Least Concern   (Probable Increase)   [Roadside spread]
Olary Spur (FLB03) 
 Least Concern
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Least Concern
Northern Flinders (FLB05) 
 Least Concern   [perennial ; widespread]
St Vincent (EYB02)Eyre Yorke Block
 Least Concern   (Probable Increase)   [Roadside spread]
Gawler Lakes (GAW03)Gawler
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Arcoona Plateau (GAW04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Roxby (GAW07) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Tallaringa (GVD05)Great Victoria Desert
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [perennial ]
Barrier Range Outwash (BHC04)Broken Hill Complex
 Least Concern
Bimbowrie (BHC05) 
 Least Concern
Curnamona (BHC06) 
 Least Concern
Dieri (SSD03)Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [perennial ]
Warriner (SSD04) 
 Near Threatened
Strzelecki Desert (SSD05) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Breakaways (STP01)Stony Plains
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Oodnadatta (STP02) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [perennial ]
Murnpeowie (STP03) 
 Least Concern
Peake-Dennison Inlier (STP04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [perennial ]
Witjira (STP06) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Baltana (STP07) 
 Least Concern   [perennial ]
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Least Concern
Mann-Musgrave Block (CER01)Central Ranges
 Least Concern   [perennial ]
IBRA regions
5 of 6 subregionsFlinders Lofty BlockLeast Concern
, Vulnerable
St Vincent (EYB02)Eyre Yorke BlockLeast Concern
  (Probable Increase)   [Roadside spread]
3 of 8 subregionsGawlerRare
Tallaringa (GVD05)Great Victoria DesertRare
  (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [perennial ]
3 of 4 subregionsBroken Hill ComplexLeast Concern
3 of 4 subregionsSimpson Strzelecki DunefieldsNear Threatened
, Rare
6 of 7 subregionsStony PlainsLeast Concern
, Rare
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel CountryLeast Concern
Mann-Musgrave Block (CER01)Central RangesLeast Concern
  [perennial ]
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 Dichanthium]
Name derivation:
Dichanthium from the Greek 'dicha' meaning in two and 'anthos' meaning flowers; alluding to the two kinds of spikelet pairs in the raceme. Sericeum from Latin meaning silky; alluding to the white silky hairs of the inflorescence.
Found mainly in the northern part of South Australia and in the Mount Lofty Ranges, growing in open grassland on clay soils. Also found in all mainland states.
Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Tufted, usually strongly glaucous perennials, culms erect, sometimes branched near base, to 80 cm high, nodes fringed with spreading hairs to 3 mm long. Leaves glabrous (rarely with scattered hairs), blade to 15 cm long and 4 mm wide, ligule truncate, 1–2 mm long. Flower-spike with 2–6 racemes, each 1–6 cm long, digitately arranged, densely silky-hairy; pedicellate spikelets sterile (an empty lemma within the pair of glumes); sessile spikelets resembling pedicellate ones, to 4 mm long (excluding awn), subtended by a tuft of silky hairs up to two-thirds as long as spikelet; lower glume, narrow-elliptic, 7–11-nerved, flattened dorsally, fringed with long hairs around the margin in the upper part; upper glume narrower, keeled, 3-nerved; sterile lemma about half as long as glumes, hyaline; fertile lemma inconspicuous, appearing as a slightly broader area toward the base of the brown, twice bent, twisting awn 2–3 cm long. Flowering between November and April. Dichanthium sericeum ssp. humilius differ from this subspecies by being an annual and having spikelets fewer nerves on the lower glume (5-7) and a shorter racemes (less than 4 cm long).
Fruit type:
Whitish brown silking fruit-spike.
Seed type:
Brown grain to 3 mm long and 1 mm wide.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Use hands to gently strip seeds off the mature seed spike that are fluffy and straw colour. Mature seeds will come off easily. Alternatively, you can break off the whole seed spike.
Seed cleaning:
Place the seeds/spike in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. No further cleaning is required if only seed collected. If seed spikes collected, use hand to strip off the mature seeds. 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 low, at 35%.