Seeds of South Australia
Eryngium ovinum (Umbelliferae)
Blue devil
List of species for Eryngium
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Seed collecting:
January to April
Herbarium regions:
Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
IBRA regions
Lucindale (NCP03)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [localised habitat; doesn't tolerate salinity]
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN C2a(i))   (Probable Decline)   [not often seen; threatened by habitat destruction, grazing, weeds, salinity, spraying]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN C2a(i))   (Probable Decline)   [known from 5 locations, not often seen; threatened by habitat destruction, grazing, weeds, salinity, spraying]
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Olary Spur (FLB03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU C2a(i))   (Probable Decline)
Lowan Mallee (MDD04)Murray Darling Depression
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Wimmera (MDD05) 
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [usuitable water regime]
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 Eryngium]
Name derivation:
Eryngium from the Greco-Latin 'eryngion' meaning sea holly.  May also be from the Greek 'eryngano' meaning to belch, as the plant was used as a remedy for flatulence. Ovinum from the Latin 'ovinum' meaning sheep but the reference is unclear.
Found in the wetter parts of the Mount Lofty Ranges and a few sites in the lower South-East in South Australia, growing in open woodland on damp clay and sandy soils. Also found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
Native. Rare in South Australia. Rare in Tasmania. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Stiffly erect, short lived perennial herb to 30 cm tall. Basal leaves pinnatisect, to 15 cm long, stem leaves to 6 cm long. Inflorescence a dense globular head with blue flowers with metallic blue or purple spinose bracts. Flowering between November and January.
Fruit type:
Spiky, pale brown ovoid fruit-head.
Seed type:
Brown ovoid seeds to 2 mm long covered in thick white hair and 2-3 spikes at one end.
Embryo type:
Linear under-developed.
Seed collecting:
Collect heads that are drying and turning a straw colour. Be careful as the plant can be very prickly. Collect more than what is required as not all seeds will be viable.
Seed cleaning:
Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. Then rub the heads with a rubber bung and not with your hands as the heads are prickly. Then use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Use an aspirator (if available) to remove the lighter non-viable seeds from the heavy viable 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.
Seed viability:
From five collections, the seed viability were low to high, ranging from 25% to 88%.
Seed germination:
Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
1527-Apr-2004DJD 1
Southern Lofty
1-Sep-200450%+5°C, -18°C
BGA638 (1.15 g)20-308-Feb-2005DJD 114
Northern Lofty
BGA2800 (5.66 g)251-Apr-2006DJD447
Southern Lofty
BGA11200 (26.65 g)50+10-Jan-2006DDC1420
Northern Lofty
9-Aug-200625%+5°C, -18°C
BGA790 (1.1 g)61-Mar-2010Frances Pro
South Eastern
BGA980 (2.47 g)17-Mar-2010Big Flat NFR
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.
Germination table:
DateResultT0T50Pre-treatment | Germination medium | Incubator: Photoperiod / Thermoperiod
August 200695%20d41d Stored at -18°C for 1 year.
Wet filter paper placed over propagating sand.
Incubated under spring/autumn conditions
June 201094%21d21d Stored at 5°C for 5yrs.
1% water agar.
Incubated under spring/autumn conditions
June 200588%14d41d None.
Wet filter paper placed over wettex sponge.
Incubated under winter conditions
March 201075%21d35d Stored at -18°C for 5yrs.
1% water agar.
Incubated under spring/autumn conditions
July 200449%21dNA Surface sterilised in 20% H2O2 solution (10mins).
Wet filter paper placed over wettex sponge.
Incubated under spring/autumn 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)