Seeds of South Australia
Microtis eremaea (Orchidaceae)
Slender Onion-orchid
List of species for Microtis
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Seed collecting:
November to December
Herbarium regions:
Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Murray
NRM regions:
Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
IBRA regions
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR D)   [1 record Talbot Reserve; specific to granite rocks]
Northern Flinders (FLB05)Flinders Lofty Block
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN C2a(i))   (Probable Decline)   [only 1 record; grows in granite outcrops; goats a threat; Mawson Plateau; highly restricted; climate change a threat]
Talia (EYB04)Eyre Yorke Block
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN D)
Gawler Volcanics (GAW02)Gawler
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN D)
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 Microtis]
Name derivation:
Microtis from the Greek 'mikros' meaning small and 'otos' meaning ear; in reference to the small ear-like column wings. Eremaea from Latin meaning desert or lonely places, alluding to the inland habitat of the species.
Found on the Eyre Peninsula, northern Flinders Ranges and the southern Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia, growing on rock outcrops and along ephemeral watercourses. Also found in Western Australia.
Native. Very rare in South Australia. Common in Western Australia.
Plant description:
Rigidly erect terrestrial orchid to 40 cm high, dull green with erect linear, hollow-terete leaves to 50 mm long and 7 mm diameter. Inflorescence a narrow conical spike to 8 cm long with numerous, dense, very small, green flowers. Flowering between August and October.
Fruit type:
Numerous small pale brown papery capsule.
Seed type:
Very tiny pale brown seeds.
Seed collecting:
Collect fat capsules as they start to dry and turn brown. Pods will split and release the seeds quickly and will require monitoring. To increase the chances of collecting mature pods, it is recommended that a small breathable bag (ie. Organza bags) be used to enclose the developing capsules.
Seed cleaning:
Place the capsules in a container that will hold fine seeds and leave to dry for a few weeks or until the capsule split. Then carefully hold the capsule and tap it gently to release the seeds. 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, refrigerator or in liquid nitrogen.