Seeds of South Australia
Ottelia ovalifolia ssp. ovalifolia (Hydrocharitaceae)
Swamp Lily
List of species for Ottelia
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Seed collecting:
February to May
Herbarium regions:
Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
IBRA regions
Tintinara (NCP04)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [1 rec Poochers Swamp; not much known, needs more survey work - T Croft]
Kangaroo Island (KAN01)Kanmantoo
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [often found in dams]
Fleurieu (KAN02) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [often found in dams]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [often found in dams]
Central Flinders (FLB06) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [localised, in Wilpena Pd; northern edge of range]
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 Ottelia]
Name derivation:
Ottelia is the Latinised form of the word ottel-ambel, the Malabar (SW India) name of an Indian species. Ovalifolia means oval-shaped leaves; referring to the shape of the adult leaves..
Found on Eyre Peninsula, Flinders Ranges, southern Mount Lofty, Kangaroo Island, Murrayland and the South-east in South Australia, growing in still water such as dams, lakes, billabongs and slow-moving rivers. Also found in all mainland states.
Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Perennial herb with floating leaves and bisexual flowers. Juvenile leaves submerged and strap-like. Adult leaves with stalk to 120 cm long, blade elliptic to ovate, to 16 cm long, with 5-7 longitudinal nerves and numerous transverse connecting veins. Flowers solitary at the end of each stalk with two types of flowers. Chasmogamous flowers are emergent or floating with cream-white with a dark reddish-purple base flowers to 5 cm across. Cleistogamous flowers submerged on shorter stalks, unopen, with shorter perianth. Flowering between November and March.
Fruit type:
Large green fleshy capsules usually submerge below the water. Capsules becomes soft with age.
Seed type:
Small brown elliptical see to 1.5 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, covered in long white hairs.
Embryo type:
Linear fully developed.
Seed collecting:
Collect mature capsules, those that are fat and turning brown. Some searching for developed capsules is required as they are usually under water.
Seed cleaning:
Place the capsules in a bucket of water then rub it with your fingers to remove the flesh. Rub and change the water a few times until all the fresh are removed. Leave the cleaned seed to dry and then store 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
46000 (11.526 g)
46000 (11.39 g)
30-4022-Feb-2005DJD 118
Southern Lofty
BGA57000 (11.94 g)50+28-Mar-2011Kuitpo
Southern Lofty
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.