Seeds of South Australia
Scleranthus minusculus (Caryophyllaceae)
Cushion Knawel
List of species for Scleranthus
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Seed collecting:
October to December
Herbarium regions:
Eyre Peninsula, Murray
NRM regions:
Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
IBRA regions
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)
Central Flinders (FLB06)Flinders Lofty Block
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [grows only on sand hills; needs winter rainfall; in Wilpena Pound]
Eyre Hills (EYB03)Eyre Yorke Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Eyre Mallee (EYB05) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
South Olary Plain (MDD01)Murray Darling Depression
 Near Threatened   [tiny annual; appears after rain in mallee]
Murray Mallee (MDD02) 
 Near Threatened   [tiny annual; appears after rain in mallee]
Lowan Mallee (MDD04) 
 Near Threatened   [tiny annual; appears after rain in mallee]
Murray Scroll Belt (RIV06)Riverina
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [tiny annual; appears after rain in mallee]
Myall Plains (GAW01)Gawler
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Gawler Volcanics (GAW02) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Yellabinna (GVD06)Great Victoria Desert
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,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 Scleranthus]
Name derivation:
Scleranthus from the Greek 'skleros' meaning hard and 'anthos' meaning flower; alluding to the hardened fruiting calyx. Minusculus from Latin meaning rather small; alluding to the species small habit.
Distribution:
Found on the upper Eyre Peninsula and lower Murray are in South Australia, growing in sandy area. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria.
Status:
Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Uncommon in New South Wales. Common in Victoria.
Plant description:
Annual herb, sprawling or to 15 cm tall.  Leaves in clusters on the stems, in opposite pairs, the bases of each pair of leaves joined and encircling the stem.  Leaves to 12 mm long, linear, hairless, with stiff, somewhat sharp, straight points. Flowers in few clusters at the bases of the leaves and on the ends of the stems, tiny (less than 3mm across), with 5 green petals. Flowering between August and October.
Fruit type:
Pale brown hard fruit to 3.8 mm long and 6.1 mm wide, with 5 long outspreading sepals.
Seed type:
Brown tear-shaped seed to 1 mm long and 0.6 mm wide.
Embryo type:
Peripheral.
Seed collecting:
Collect heads that are drying off and turning brown, these should contain small brown seeds. Be careful as plant can be prickly.
Seed cleaning:
Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for 1 to 2 weeks. Then rub the dried heads with a rubber bung to dislodge the fruits. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Seeds are enclosed in the hard fruit and can be stored as is. Store the fruit with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.