Seeds of South Australia
Phyllanthus saxosus (Euphorbiaceae)
Rock Spurge
List of species for Phyllanthus
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Seed collecting:
August to January
Herbarium regions:
Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, 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))   [edge of range; grows in rock crevices]
Kangaroo Island (KAN01)Kanmantoo
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [in rocky, wet areas; threatened by livestock]
Fleurieu (KAN02) 
 Data Deficient   [1 record Saunders Ck Gorge, imprecise location]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [Torrens Gorge, Dry Ck]
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)
Olary Spur (FLB03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Least Concern
Northern Flinders (FLB05) 
 Near Threatened
Central Flinders (FLB06) 
 Near Threatened
St Vincent (EYB02)Eyre Yorke Block
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN D)   (Probable Decline)
Eyre Hills (EYB03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Myall Plains (GAW01)Gawler
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
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 Phyllanthus]
Name derivation:
Phyllanthus from the Greek 'phyllon' meaning a leaf and 'anthos' meaning a flower; referring to some foreign species where the flowers grow on the edges of dilated leaf-like branchlets. Saxosus from Latin meaning full of rocks; referring to its habitat.
Found in the Flinders Ranges, north-west Eyre Peninsula, Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island and the upper South-east in South Australia, growing in rocky slopes. Also found in Western Australia and Victoria.
Rare in South Australia. Very rare in the other states.
Plant description:
Glabrous, dioecious shrub to 2 m high. Leaves alternate, in opposite pair, broadly obovate often somewhat oblique, to 15 mm long and 16 mm wide. Male inflorescence in axil with 2–10 yellow flowers.  Female inflorescence solitary with green flowers. This species is very similar to Phyllanthus gunnii which does not occur in South Australia and differ by being constantly dioecious not monoecious , and distinctive pustulate (small blisters) appearance. Flowering between March and December.
Fruit type:
Brown depressed-globular capsule to 5 mm diameter, slightly 3-lobed, smooth or with inconspicuous furrows.
Seed type:
Brown sectoroid seed to 2 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, with fine striation and black markings.
Embryo type:
Spatulate fully developed.
Seed collecting:
Collect individually or break off short fruiting stems with fat, brown capsules with hard dark seed. Slightly green capsules can be collected if the seeds are dark and hard.
Seed cleaning:
Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then gently rub the capsules with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieves 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:
Seed viability can be variable and seeds. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 85%.
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
4300 (9.2 g)
4300 (9.2 g)
Northern 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.