Plants of
South Australia
Amaranthus interruptus
Native Amaranth
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Amaranthus from the Greek 'a' meaning not and 'marantos' meaning withering, a name used for an everlasting flower. Interruptus from the Latin 'inter' meaning between and 'ruptus' to break; maybe alluding to the irregular splitting of the fruit capsule.

Distribution and status

Found scattered across the arid region of South Australia. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Flinders Ranges
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Decumbent to erect herb to 60 cm tall. Petioles grooved on the upper surface, to 10 mm long. Leaf blades to 27 mm long and 16 mm wide, underside of the leaf blade sparsely covered in dark brown hairs. Inflorescence to 8 mm long. Flowers small to 1 mm long, consist of 3 tepals fused only near the base. Anthers about 1.5mm long. Flowers throughout the year. Fruits are wrinkled, ovoid o ellipsoid capsule to 2 mm long, breaking irregularly. Seeds are very small black, reniform seed to 1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect mature capsules, those that are turning a pale straw colour and contain black seeds. Whole stem containing many clusters of fruit can be collected. Place the capsules/stems in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. Then rub the capsules/stems gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be very careful as the seeds are very small. 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. From two collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 95% to 100%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA26,600 (37.82 g)508-May-2007RJB71573
Lake Eyre
BGA30,000 (19.35 g)12-Mar-2007RJB70959
Lake Eyre
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.