Seeds of South Australia
Microlepidium alatum (Cruciferae)
Winged-fruit Shepherd's-purse
List of species for Microlepidium
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Seed collecting:
August to October
Herbarium region:
Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions:
Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula
IBRA regions
Eyre Mallee (EYB05)Eyre Yorke Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)   [limestone soils, mossy areas]
Yalata (NUL03)Nullarbor
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)   [limestone soils, mossy areas]
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 Microlepidium]
Name derivation:
Microlepidium from the Greek 'mikros' meaning small and the genus Lepidium (from the Greek 'lepis' meaning a scale); alluding to much smaller habit of the genus to Lipidium. Alatum from the Latin 'alatus ' meaning winged; referring to the winged fruit pod.
Found on the western Eyre Peninsula and along the Nullarbor in South Australia, growing in sheltered sites, particularly in moss beds on sandy loam over sheet limestone in Melaleuca lanceolata open-woodland. Also found in Western Australia.
Native. Rare in South Australia. Very rare in Western Australia.
Plant description:
Small spreading to erect annual herb to 20 cm tall with stout and hairless stems, rarely branching. Basal leaves obovate, entire and up to 2 cm long. Stem leaves obovate, remotely dentate to entire, to 1.5 cm long. Inflorescence along the upper part of the stems with tiny white flowers, without petals. Flowering between July to September.
Fruit type:
Brown globular to cordate pod to 5.5 mm long, slightly compressed, with two flattened wings. Seeds are broadly ellipsoid, 0.8–1 mm long. 
Seed type:
Orange brown ovoid seed to 1 mm long and 0.7 mm wide, with very fine tuberculates.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Collect whole plants, those with maturing pods, turning pale brown with hard seeds inside. Be gentle with the pods as they split open easily.
Seed cleaning:
Place the pods in a tray and cover with paper to prevent seeds from popping out and leave to dry for a week. Then rub the dried pods 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 two collections, the seed viability were high, at 100%.
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA4700 (0.89 g)100+11-Sep-2008TST483
Eyre Peninsula
20-Jul-2009100%+5°C, -18°C
BGA4000 (0.66 g)50+10-Sep-2008TST478
Eyre Peninsula
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.