Seeds of South Australia
Scleranthus pungens (Caryophyllaceae)
Prickly Knawel
List of species for Scleranthus
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Seed collecting:
October to December
Herbarium regions:
Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
IBRA regions
Kangaroo Island (KAN01)Kanmantoo
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [in steep rocky areas in dry gorges; on northern coastline]
Fleurieu (KAN02) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)   [in steep rocky areas in dry gorges; localised; threatened by foot traffic (on Bluff)]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [in steep rocky areas in dry gorges]
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Least Concern   [habitat specific]
Olary Spur (FLB03) 
 Least Concern   [habitat specific]
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Least Concern   [habitat specific]
Northern Flinders (FLB05) 
 Near Threatened   [rocky areas; climate sensitive]
Central Flinders (FLB06) 
 Least Concern   [rocky areas; climate sensitive]
Eyre Hills (EYB03)Eyre Yorke Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [rock dweller]
Talia (EYB04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [rock dweller]
Eyre Mallee (EYB05) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [rock dweller]
Myall Plains (GAW01)Gawler
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [rock dweller]
Gawler Volcanics (GAW02) 
 Near Threatened   [rock dweller]
Bimbowrie (BHC05)Broken Hill Complex
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i))
Curnamona (BHC06) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i))
IBRA regions
2 of 2 subregionsKanmantooRare
6 of 6 subregionsFlinders Lofty BlockLeast Concern
, Near Threatened
, Rare
3 of 5 subregionsEyre Yorke BlockRare
2 of 8 subregionsGawlerNear Threatened
, Rare
2 of 4 subregionsBroken Hill ComplexRare
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. Pungens from Latin meaning sharply pointed, spiny; referring to the leaves pungent ends.
Found in the central part of South Australia, from  the Gammon Ranges to the Kangaroo Island. growing on dry sandy soil using in rocking places. Also found in New South Wales.
Native. Common in South Australia. Common in New South Wales.
Plant description:
Rigid perennial herb to 30 cm high, with many ascending stems. Leaves linear-lanceolate to 15 mm long, rigid, pungent-pointed. Flowers sessile in clusters, mostly terminal rarely in axils of leaves, and each flower sheltered by a broad bract, flowers white with light green centre. Flowering between August and October.
Fruit type:
Pale brown conical capsule.
Embryo type:
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.
Seed viability:
From one collection, the seed viability was average, at 75%.
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
6900 (9.72 g)
6900 (9.72 g)
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.