Seeds of South Australia
Eriocaulon australasicum (Eriocaulaceae)
Austral Pipewort
List of species for Eriocaulon
Click on an image to enlarge it
Seed collecting:
January to March
Herbarium region:
South Eastern
NRM region:
South East
IBRA region
Lowan Mallee (MDD04)Murray Darling Depression
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: )   (Probable Decline)
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 Eriocaulon]
Name derivation:
Eriocaulon from the Greek 'erion' meaning wool and 'kaulos' meaning stem, alluding to the scapes of some species. Australasicum means of, or from Australasia, referring to the species' distribution.
Distribution:
Found on a private property near Bangham in South Australia, growing in shallow, seasonally inundated depressions and swamp margins on clay plains, with Chorizandra enodis, Villarsia reniformis, Gratiola pumelo, Centrolepis polygyna, Myriophyllum spp. and Utricularia dichotoma. Plants start to grow in shallow water (up to 20 cm deep), particularly where the water is clear and the substrate high in organic matter. They are less common in turbid water. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria.
Status:
Native. Very rare in South Australia. Very rare in the other States.
Plant description:
Small grass-like annual forb to 5 cm tall. Leaves at the base of the plant to 50 cm long and 1.5 mm wide; linear, with a long point. Male and female flowers on the same plant. Individual flowers small to 3 mm across, in oval to almost globular heads on the ends of a long ribbed leafless stalks, surrounded by bracts. Male flowers with 6 'petals', the inner 3 fused into a 3-lobed tube, female flowers with no petal. Flowers in early summer. Flowering and seed-set follow rapidly as the water level drops and the depressions dry out.
Fruit type:
Round fruit heads turning brown as it matures.
Embryo type:
Broad.
Seed collecting:
Carefully pick the browning fruit heads by hand. These will have mature seeds which are hard and yellow-orange.
Seed cleaning:
Place the fruit heads in a tray and leave to dry for a week. Then gently rub the heads by hand. Use a fine sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be carefully which part you discard as the seeds are very small and will probably fall through your sieve. 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.