Seeds of South Australia
Heliotropium cunninghamii (Boraginaceae)
Creeping Heliotrope
List of species for Heliotropium
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Seed collecting:
May to August
Herbarium regions:
North Western, Lake Eyre, Flinders Ranges
NRM regions:
Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Northern Flinders (FLB05)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Tallaringa (GVD05)Great Victoria Desert
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Strzelecki Desert (SSD05)Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Oodnadatta (STP02)Stony Plains
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Murnpeowie (STP03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Mann-Musgrave Block (CER01)Central Ranges
 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 Heliotropium]
Name derivation:
Heliotropium from the Greek 'helios' meaning sun and 'tropos' meaning turn; probably alluding to an early belief that the flowers turned to face the sun. Cunninghamii named after Allan Cunningham (1791-1839), an English botanist and explorer, primarily known for his travels in Australia to collect plants.
Distribution:
Found in the north, north-west and north-eastern parts of South Australia, growing in a wide range of habitats including grassland, mulga, base of a sandstone ridge, scree slope of quartzite range, on red earth, limestone, gravelly and granitic sand soils. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.
Status:
Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Annual, ascending to spreading-ascending herb to 60 cm tall with hairs on the stems, leaves and calyx. Leaves linear to oblong, to 40 mm long and1 mm wide on short-petiolate, surface with wrinkles and appressed hairs, base narrowly cuneate to rounded, the apex acute to narrowly so. Inflorescence a spike at axils of leaves with a number of white with yellow centre, bell-shaped flowers. Flowering between January and December, often between March and June.
Fruit type:
Brown capsules along the spike, splitting open at maturity.
Seed type:
Dark brown to black sectoroid seed to 1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide.
Embryo type:
Spatulate fully developed.
Seed collecting:
Collect mature capsule, those that are drying off, turning brown and contain dark, hard seeds inside. Can collect individual capsule or break off whole spike.
Seed cleaning:
Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the fruits gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the 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 95%.
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
16500 (6.8 g)
16500 (6.8 g)
5017-May-2007RJB71821
North Western
1-Aug-200795%-18°C
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.
Germination table:
DateResultT0T50Pre-treatment | Germination medium | Incubator: Photoperiod / Thermoperiod
Sep-1598%7 d7 d 500 mg/L gibberellic acid 48 h;
1% agar;
Incubated under summer conditions
Sep-1586%7 d7 d 500 mg/L gibberellic acid 48 h;
1% agar;
Incubated under spring/autumn conditions
Sep-152%7 dNA
1% agar;
Incubated under summer conditions
Sep-150%NANA
1% agar;
Incubated under spring/autumn conditions
Result: Maximum percentage of germination observed.
T0: Number of days before first germinant observed.
T50: Number of days to achieve 50% germination.
Pre-treatment: The initial treatment that the seeds received prior to placement on germination media.
Germination medium: The substrate that seeds were placed on for the duration of the germination experiment.
Incubator conditions:
Photoperiod: The duration of light exposure that the seeds were subject to during a 24 hour period.
Thermoperiod: The constant or diurnal temperatures that seeds were subject to during a 24 hour period.
Winter conditions: 15°C 20 h (3am→11pm); 5°C 4 h (11pm→3am) / 10 h light (8am→6pm); 14 h dark (6pm→8am)
Spring/Autumn conditions: 22°C 12 h (8am→8pm); 10°C 12 h (8pm→8am) / 12 h light (8am→8pm); 12 h dark (8pm→8am)
Summer conditions: 30°C 14 h (6am→8pm); 15°C 10 h (8pm→6am) / 14 h light (6am→8pm); 10 h dark (8pm→6am)