Seeds of South Australia
Austrostipa pilata (Gramineae)
Prickly Spear-grass
List of species for Austrostipa
Click on an image to enlarge it
Seed collecting:
November to January
Herbarium regions:
Flinders Ranges, Northern Lofty, Murray
NRM regions:
Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [difficult to ID; likes rocky gorges; restricted habitat; weeds (olives) a threat]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(iii); D2)   (Probable Decline)   [difficult to ID; likes rocky gorges; restricted habitat; weeds (olives) a threat]
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA a)   (Probable Decline)
Olary Spur (FLB03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA a)   (Probable Decline)
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA a)   (Probable Decline)
Northern Flinders (FLB05) 
 Least Concern
Central Flinders (FLB06) 
 Near Threatened
Southern Yorke (EYB01)Eyre Yorke Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
St Vincent (EYB02) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)
Talia (EYB04) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii); D1)   (Probable Decline)
Eyre Mallee (EYB05) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii); D1)   (Probable Decline)
Murray Mallee (MDD02)Murray Darling Depression
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [roadside record; unusual]
Myall Plains (GAW01)Gawler
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii); D1)   (Probable Decline)
IBRA regions
Fleurieu (KAN02)KanmantooVulnerable
  (IUCN: VU D2)   [difficult to ID; likes rocky gorges; restricted habitat; weeds (olives) a threat]
6 of 6 subregionsFlinders Lofty BlockLeast Concern
, Near Threatened
, Rare
, Vulnerable
4 of 5 subregionsEyre Yorke BlockRare
, Vulnerable
Murray Mallee (MDD02)Murray Darling DepressionVulnerable
  (IUCN: VU D2)   [roadside record; unusual]
Myall Plains (GAW01)GawlerVulnerable
  (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii); D1)   (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 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. Pilata from the Latin 'pilus' meaning hair and the suffix '–ata' meaning possessing, referring to its long hairs on the leaves and awn.
Near endemic to South Australia and found on the Eyre Peninsula, Flinders Ranges and the northern Mount Lofty Ranges growing on hill slopes in mallee. Also known from only one collection in Victoria.
Native. Rare in South Australia. Very rare in Victoria.
Plant description:
Loosely tufted perennial grass to 80 cm high, with firm and slender culms (to 1 mm diam. at base) and pubescent to almost glabrous black nodes. Leaves scabrous or pubescent but never densely pubescent; white hair tufts in axils; leaf blade erect, sharp-pointed and strongly inrolled to 12 cm long and 6 mm wide; sheaths slender and tight around culm. Inflorescence a sparse slender contracted panicle to 20 cm long with straw-coloured glumes to 10 mm long. Flowering between October and November.

Key to this species: awn falcate (curved bristle at right angle to the column); lemma narrow and needle-like; awn 40-50 mm with column pubescent; leaves erect, broad (2-6 mm), inrolled with pungent tips; never dense pubescent; white hair tufts in axils; sheath slender and tight around culm; nodes black and not concealed; panicle sparse slender contracted.

Fruit type:
Brown linear-elliptic lemma to 11 mm long with a granular surface and covered in white hairs, sparse toward apex; callus long sharp to 1.5 mm long; awn falcate to 50 mm long with column pubescent.
Seed type:
Yellow-brown narrow ellipsoid grain to 2.5 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 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 variable, depending on time of seed collections and seasonal conditions.