Seeds of South Australia
Desmodium gunnii (Leguminosae)
Southern Tick-trefoil
List of species for Desmodium
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Seed collecting:
December to April
Herbarium region:
South Eastern
NRM region:
South East
IBRA region
Mount Gambier (SVP02)Southern Volcanic Plain
 Rare   (IUCN: )   (Probable Decline)
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 Desmodium]
Name derivation:
Desmodium from the Greek 'desmodum', meaning a little chain, possibly alluding to the way the individual seedpod segments are attach together into a long pod. Gunnii named after  Ronald Campbell Gunn (1808-1881), a pioneer botanist and scientist in Tasmania and collector of the type specimen.
Found in the lower South-east in South Australia, growing in sclerophyll forest and woodland. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoris and Tasmania (and Papua New Guinea to New Caledonia).
Native. Rare in South Australia. Very rare in Tasmania. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Prostrate or ascending herb with weak stems to 50 cm long, sometimes rooting at nodes, glabrous or with a few short hairs. Leaves mostly trifoliolate with leaflets obovate to orbicular, to 20 mm long and 15 mm wide, upper and lower surfaces with sparse soft curved hairs. Inflorescence an erect terminal spike to 15 cm long with 4–10 small pink fading to white flowers. Flowering between October to March.
Fruit type:
Hairy, semi-flattened pod to 20 mm long, constricted between each segment. The pods are loments, that is each seed is dispersed individually enclosed in its segment.
Seed type:
Yellow to orange bean-shaped seed to 3 mm long and 1.5 mm wide.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Collect mature pods that are fat, detached easily and with hard seeds inside. The pods are hairy and will stick hands and clothes.
Seed cleaning:
Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for 1-2 weeks. Then rub the dried pods to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any 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:
From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 90%.
Seed germination:
This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).