Seeds of South Australia
Lythrum salicaria (Lythraceae)
Purple Loosestrife
List of species for Lythrum
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Seed collecting:
January to May
Herbarium regions:
Flinders Ranges, Murray, Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
IBRA regions
Mount Gambier (SVP02)Southern Volcanic Plain
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [Troy's record - overland track]
Bridgewater (NCP01)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [needs good quality swamps]
Glenelg Plain (NCP02) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [fluctuates]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [fluctuates; edge of range, outlier]
Northern Flinders (FLB05) 
 Data Deficient   [only appeared after a wet year, temporary]
Murray Mallee (MDD02)Murray Darling Depression
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [restricted to river; comes & goes]
Murray Scroll Belt (RIV06)Riverina
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [restricted to river; comes & goes]
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 Lythrum]
Name derivation:
Lythrum an ancient name used by Dioscorides and is from the Greek 'lythron' meaning black blood; referring to the purple colour of the flowers of some species, but it has been suggested that it refers to some styptic property of the plant. Salicaria from Latin meaning willow-like; referring to the similarity of the leaves to those of the willow.
Found in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, along the Murray River and in the lower South-east in South Australia, growing in moist places or near water, often in swamps or the edge of streams. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
Native. Rare in South Australia. Rare in Tasmania. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Erect, rhizomatous perennial herb to 1 m high. Leaves mostly opposite, sometimes in whorls of 3 or the upper ones alternate, narrowly ovate to oblong-lanceolate, sessile and slightly stem-clasping, to 7 cm long. Inflorescence a terminal spike with clusters of up to 4 blue-purple flowers in the axils of leafy bracts, floral tube more or less cylindrical to 5 mm long and 2 mm wide. Flowering between November and March.
Fruit type:
Brown papery ovoid capsule, splitting by 2 valves.
Seed type:
Pale brown ovoid seed to 0.9 mm long and 0.5 mm wide.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Collect mature capsules, those that are turning brown in colour and contain brown seeds. Whole stem containing many clusters of fruit can be collected.
Seed cleaning:
Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. Then rub the capsules gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be very careful as the seeds are very small. 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 germination:
Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

1. Germination 100% on 1% w/v agar, 16/8 dark/light, 10C/20C. 2. Germination 100% on 1% w/v agar, 16/8 dark/light, 20C/35C. See

Germination table:
DateResultT0T50Pre-treatment | Germination medium | Incubator: Photoperiod / Thermoperiod
Jun-1292%7 d14 d
1% agar with 100 mg/L potassium nitrate;
Incubated under spring/autumn conditions
Jun-1290%7 d14 d
1% agar;
Incubated under spring/autumn conditions
Jun-1280%7 d14 d
1% agar with 250 mg/L gibberellic acid (pH 6.5);
Incubated under spring/autumn conditions
Jun-1222%14 dNA
1% agar with 100 mg/L potassium nitrate;
Incubated under winter conditions
Jun-1212%14 dNA
1% agar with 250 mg/L gibberellic acid (pH 6.5);
Incubated under winter conditions
Jun-126%14 dNA
1% agar;
Incubated under winter 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)