Seeds of South Australia
Austrostipa oligostachya (Gramineae)
Fine-head Spear-grass
List of species for Austrostipa
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Seed collecting:
October to February
Herbarium regions:
Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, South East
IBRA regions
Bridgewater (NCP01)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Definite Decline)   [could be checked, one old record; could be extinct]
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(iii); D)   (Probable Decline)   [restricted habitat, < 5 locations; grassy woodland specialist; SA endemic]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2b(iv))   (Probable Decline)   [highly restricted habitat, < 5 locations; grassy woodland specialist; SA endemic; recent declines]
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. Oligostachya from the Greek 'oligos' meaning few and 'stachys' meaning ear of maize, referring to its few branching inflorescence.
Distribution:
Found in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the upper South-east in South Australia, growing in ephemerally wet areas, along  river banks and loamy flats in  grassy woodland and grassland. Also found in Victoria.
Status:
Native. Very rare in South Australia. Common in Victoria.
Plant description:
Tufted perennial grass to 1 m high with culms unbranched and pubescent nodes. Leaves glabrous, scabrous or lightly pubescent, with purple sheath and blade usually involute, to 20 cm long and 1 mm diameter. Inflorescence an open panicle to 25 cm long, with strongly veined purple glumes to 18 mm long, the lower longer than upper. Flowering between September to December.

Key to this species: awn twice bent with no coma (no hairs around the lemma apex), lemma 7-9 mm with apex crystalline tuberculate; glumes strongly ridged; column 18-25 mm

Fruit type:
Red-brown narrow-ellipsoid lemma to 9 mm long, with 1 or 2 short lobes at the narrow apex to 0.5 mm long; granular tuberculate surface with crystalline tuberculate near the apex and covered in yellow hairs at least in the lower part, with sparse hairs in the upper half; callus straight and sharp to 3 mm long; awn twice bent to 80 mm long with the column scabrous-pubescent or smooth to 25 mm long; palea about equal to lemma, glabrous or sparsely pubescent along the centre line.
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 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 two collections, the seed viability was average, ranging from 60% to 75%. 
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
1400 (11.4 g)
1950 (15.75 g)
30+7-Nov-2006MJT21
Southern Lofty
1-Aug-200760%+5°C, -18°C
BGA8000 (20.79 g)5026-Oct-2007RJB75078
Southern Lofty
19-Sep-200875%+5°C, -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.