Plants of
South Australia
Aphelia pumilio
Dwarf Aphelia
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.


Aphelia from the Greek 'apheles' meaning simple; referring to the simple structure of the solitary female florets. Pumilio from Latin meaning dwarf; referring to its habit.

Distribution and status

Found in Mount Lofty Ranges and the South-east in South Australia, growing in temporarily wet ground of various soil types. Also found in Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Very tiny, erect herb to 30 mm tall with narrow leaves clustered at the base of the stems to 20 mm long. Inflorescence an erect spike to 6 mm long and are leaf-like. Flowering between October and November. Fruits are small brown leaf-like spike. Seeds are vey small brown ellipsoid seed to 1 mm long and 0.5 mm wide. Seed embryo type is broad.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and January. Collect whole plant that are starting to dry off and turning pale straw colour. Place the plant material in a tray for 1-2 week to dry. Then rub the pods with your hands or a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Pass the material through a sieve to separate the unwanted material. The finer material will contain both seeds (soft) and frass (hard) usually distinguishable from each other. With finer sieves, the seeds can be separated from the frass but this is not essential for storage or propagation. 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 one collection, the seed viability was high, at 100%.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage

5,500 (0.55 g)
Southern Lofty
BGA6,800 (0.89 g)50+18-Nov-2010DJD2047
South Eastern
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.