Plants of
South Australia
Arabidella filifolia
Rock cress
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.


Arabidella a diminutive of 'arabis' which is a Greek word for mustard or cress. Filifolia from the Latin 'filum' meaning thread and 'folium' meaning a leaf, referring to the thread-like leaves.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found mainly in the central region, growing in rocky places. Native. Uncommon in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect, much branching, straggling shrub to 1 m tall with thread-like leaves, sometimes splitting into 2s or 3s, to 6 cm long. Inflorescenec a terminal cluster with white or cream flowers. Flowering between August and October. Fruits are long capsules up to 2 cm long, usually brown when mature and containing numerous seeds. Seeds are yellow-orange, semi-flat reniform seeds to 1.2 mm long and 0.7 mm wide. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and December. Collect capsules that are turning brown, with hard yellow seeds inside. Place the capsules in a tray and cover to prevent seeds popping out and leave to dry for at least a week. Then rub the capsules gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. 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 95%. This species has physiological dormancy that need to be overcome for the seed to germinate.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
16,600 (3.66 g)
16,600 (3.66 g)
Flinders Ranges
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.
Germination table: