Seeds of South Australia
Austrostipa elegantissima (Gramineae)
Elegant Spear-grass
List of species for Austrostipa
Display more images
Click on an image to enlarge it
Seed collecting:
October to February
Herbarium regions:
Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
IBRA regions
SUMMARY
Lucindale (NCP03)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Data Deficient   [odd record]
Tintinara (NCP04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Kangaroo Island (KAN01)Kanmantoo
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [naturally Rare]
Fleurieu (KAN02) 
 Least Concern
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Least Concern
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Least Concern
Olary Spur (FLB03) 
 Least Concern
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Least Concern
Northern Flinders (FLB05) 
 Least Concern
Central Flinders (FLB06) 
 Least Concern
Southern Yorke (EYB01)Eyre Yorke Block
 Least Concern
St Vincent (EYB02) 
 Least Concern
Eyre Hills (EYB03) 
 Least Concern   [could be increasing]
Talia (EYB04) 
 Least Concern   [could be increasing]
Eyre Mallee (EYB05) 
 Least Concern   [could be increasing]
South Olary Plain (MDD01)Murray Darling Depression
 Least Concern
Murray Mallee (MDD02) 
 Least Concern
Murray Lakes and Coorong (MDD03) 
 Least Concern
Lowan Mallee (MDD04) 
 Least Concern
Wimmera (MDD05) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [localised]
Braemer (MDD07) 
 Least Concern
Murray Scroll Belt (RIV06)Riverina
 Least Concern
Myall Plains (GAW01)Gawler
 Least Concern
Gawler Volcanics (GAW02) 
 Least Concern
Gawler Lakes (GAW03) 
 Least Concern
Arcoona Plateau (GAW04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Kingoonya (GAW05) 
 Least Concern
Maralinga (GVD03)Great Victoria Desert
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Yellabinna (GVD06) 
 Least Concern
Nullarbor Plain (NUL02)Nullarbor
 Least Concern
Yalata (NUL03) 
 Least Concern
Barrier Range (BHC01)Broken Hill Complex
 Least Concern
Curnamona (BHC06) 
 Least Concern
IBRA regions
DISPLAY ALL
2 of 4 subregionsNaracoorte Coastal PlainRare
, Data Deficient
2 of 2 subregionsKanmantooLeast Concern
, Rare
6 of 6 subregionsFlinders Lofty BlockLeast Concern
5 of 5 subregionsEyre Yorke BlockLeast Concern
6 of 6 subregionsMurray Darling DepressionLeast Concern
, Rare
Murray Scroll Belt (RIV06)RiverinaLeast Concern
5 of 8 subregionsGawlerLeast Concern
, Rare
2 of 4 subregionsGreat Victoria DesertLeast Concern
, Rare
2 of 3 subregionsNullarborLeast Concern
2 of 4 subregionsBroken Hill ComplexLeast Concern
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 Austrostipa]
Name derivation:
Austrostipa from the Latin 'auster' meaning south and the genus Stipa; referring to the genus being allied to Stipa but restricted to Australia. Elegantissima from the Latin 'elegans' meaning elegant and suffix 'issima' meaning most; alluding to its very beautiful inflorescence.
Distribution:
Found in the southern part of South Australia, south of the Gammon Ranges, growing in wide range of habitats including mallee open forest and woodland and shrubland on calcareous sand, clay, loam and ironstone. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. 
Status:
Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Decumbent perennial grass to 2 m high with a short rhizome, culms branching from the base and nodes glabrous. Leaves glabrous with blade flat or inrolled, to 12 cm long and 4 mm wide. Inflorescence a widely spreading, pyramidal panicle to 25 cm long, panicle branches plumose with spreading silky hairs to 3 mm long and purplish glumes to 13 mm long with hairs along the nerves. Flowering between August and December.

Key to this species: perennial grass, culm branching from the base, panicle large spreading with branches plumose with hairs 2-3 mm long, nodes glabrous, glumes with hairs on nerves, lemma hairless except near the callus

Fruit type:
Dark brown linear-lanceolate lemma to 9 mm long with a fine dense papillose surface and covered in short white hairs about the callus, otherwise glabrous, coma absent or very sparse, callus short to 1 mm long, awn once or twice bent to 50 mm long shortly pubescent, palea glabrous and up to about one-half as long as lemma and thinly membranous.
Seed type:
Yellow-brown narrow ovoid grain to 5 mm long within the lemma.
Embryo type:
Lateral.
Seed collecting:
Use your hands to gently strip the seeds (lemma) off the mature fruiting spike, those that are turning brown. Mature seeds will come off easily compare to the immature seeds that remain on the spike. Alternatively, you can break off the whole fruit spike to allow some of the seeds to mature further.
Seed cleaning:
Place the seeds/spike in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. No further cleaning is required if only seed collected. If seed spikes collected, use hand to strip off the mature 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:
Viability of grass seeds could be very viable, depending on time of seed collections and seasonal conditions. From one collection, the seed viability was low, at 35%. 
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
6400 (19.4 g)
6400 (19.4 g)
300+20-Dec-2005KHB021
Southern Lofty
9-Aug-200635%-18°C
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.