Seeds of South Australia
Heliotropium inexplicitum (Boraginaceae)
Baffling Heliotrope
List of species for Heliotropium
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Seed collecting:
April to September
Herbarium regions:
North Western, Lake Eyre
NRM regions:
Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
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. Inexplicitum from the Latin 'inexplicitus' meaning inexplicable; referring to the surprising lack of recognition accorded this species in herbaria.
Found in the far north-western part of South Australia, growing on sandy & clay, often stony soils. Also found in Western Australia and Northern Territory.
Native. Very rare in South Australia. Rare in Northern Territory. Common in Western Australia.
Plant description:
Annual to short-lived perennial herb, ascending to spreading-ascending, to 12 cm tall with long stiff white hairs on the stems, leaves and calyx. Leaves linear to oblong to narrowly elliptic to narrowly ovate, to 25 mm long and 2.5 mm wide, surface with the appressed hairs. Inflorescence short clusters at terminal with small white flowers, outer surface with hairs. Flowering between March and August.
Fruit type:
Brown oblong to suboblong to subovate capsule to 1.4 mm long and 0.9 mm wide, moderately to strongly pitted.
Seed type:
Dark brown sectoroid seed to 1 mm long and 0.7 mm wide, with a smooth surface.
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 fruit cluster or break off whole heads.
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 90%.