Seeds of South Australia
Austrostipa muelleri (Gramineae)
Wiry Spear-grass
List of species for Austrostipa
Click on an image to enlarge it
Seed collecting:
November to February
Herbarium regions:
Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, South East
IBRA regions
Mount Gambier (SVP02)Southern Volcanic Plain
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [specialised habitat - needs wet patches]
Glenelg Plain (NCP02)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [specialised habitat - needs wet patches]
Lucindale (NCP03) 
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [specialised habitat - needs wet patches]
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Least Concern   [stringybark habitat; clonal; high rainfall]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [stringybark habitat; clonal; high rainfall; some decline around Stirling]
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. Muelleri named after Baron Ferdinand von Muller (1825-1896), botanist, plant collector and Government Botanist of Victoria. 
Distribution:
Found in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower South-east in South Australia, growing on clay and gravel soils in woodland and open forest.
Status:
Native. Rare in South Australia. 
Plant description:
Tufted rhizomatous perennial grass to 1 m long with decumbent wiry branched culms and glabrous nodes. Leaves glabrous with blade closely inrolled, to 1.5 mm long and 0.2 mm wide, soon deciduous. Inflorescence a reduced panicle to 5 cm long with 1–4 spikelets. Glumes to 30 mm long purplish, narrowly truncate, subequal. Flowering between October and January.

Key to this species: lemma apex with long lobes (teeth) 1-3 mm, panicle with 1-4 spikelets, culm branched decumbent, leaves tiny 1 mm, rhizome

Fruit type:
Brown linear-elliptic to lemma 20 mm long with a tuberculate surface and covered in whitish hairs with long lobes (teeth) at the apex to 3 mm long, coma absent, callus to 3 mm long, awn once or twice bent to 100 mm long, minutely pubescent; palea 3–5 mm shorter than lemma with a line of hairs down the centre.
Seed type:
Yellow-brown narrow ellipsoid grain to 6 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 golden 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.