Seeds of South Australia
Austrostipa exilis (Gramineae)
Heath Spear-grass
List of species for Austrostipa
Click on an image to enlarge it
Seed collecting:
November to February
Herbarium regions:
Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
IBRA regions
Bridgewater (NCP01)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Near Threatened
Lucindale (NCP03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   (Probable Decline)
Tintinara (NCP04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Kangaroo Island (KAN01)Kanmantoo
 Least Concern
Fleurieu (KAN02) 
 Near Threatened   [eastern fringe ]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [limestone sp; not typical habitat; could be declining]
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Data Deficient   [Should be more records associated with mallee.]
Olary Spur (FLB03) 
 Data Deficient
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Data Deficient
Southern Yorke (EYB01)Eyre Yorke Block
 Least Concern
St Vincent (EYB02) 
 Least Concern
Eyre Hills (EYB03) 
 Least Concern   [high rainfall, mallee spp.]
Talia (EYB04) 
 Least Concern   [high rainfall, mallee spp.]
Eyre Mallee (EYB05) 
 Least Concern   [high rainfall, mallee spp.]
Murray Mallee (MDD02)Murray Darling Depression
 Near Threatened   [sandy loam]
Murray Lakes and Coorong (MDD03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   (Probable Decline)
Lowan Mallee (MDD04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Wimmera (MDD05) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)
Myall Plains (GAW01)Gawler
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [high rainfall, mallee spp.]
IBRA regions
3 of 4 subregionsNaracoorte Coastal PlainNear Threatened
, Rare
2 of 2 subregionsKanmantooLeast Concern
, Near Threatened
4 of 6 subregionsFlinders Lofty BlockRare
, Data Deficient
5 of 5 subregionsEyre Yorke BlockLeast Concern
4 of 6 subregionsMurray Darling DepressionNear Threatened
, Rare
, Vulnerable
Myall Plains (GAW01)GawlerRare
  (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [high rainfall, mallee spp.]
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. Exilis from Latin meaning small or thin, referring to its slender culms.
Found in the southern part of South Australia growing in mallee, open forest and woodland. Also found in Western Australia and Victoria.
Native. Common in South Australia. Rare in Victoria. Common in Western Australia.
Plant description:
Tufted perennial grass to 0.6 m high, with fine culms (less than 1.5 mm diameter at base) and finely pubescent nodes. Leaves pubescent with blade tightly involute to 200 mm long and 0.5 mm diameter, drooping (flexuose). Inflorescence a sparse slender panicle to 20 cm long, with purplish glumes to 11 mm long, the lower glume longer by 2–4 mm than the upper glume. Flowering between September and January.

Key to this species: awn twice bent with coma; panicle contracted with short open branches; glumes narrow straight; culm slender (<1.5 mm diameter); leaves fine drooping, with long hair; lower glume (8-12 mm)

Fruit type:
Dark-brown to black lemma to 6 mm long with minutely granular surface texture and covered with semi-appressed apricot-coloured hairs; coma erect with hairs no longer than those of the body of the lemma; callus long straight to 1.5 mm long; awn twice bent to 55 mm long; column shortly pubescent or scabrid; palea slightly shorter than lemma, with silky-hair along the centre line.
Seed type:
Yellow-brown narrow-ovoid grain to 5 mm long within the lemma.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Use your hands to gently strip the seeds (lemma) off the mature fruiting spike, those that are turning orange. 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.