Plants of
South Australia
Arabidella procumbens
Creeping 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. Procumbens means to lie on the ground, referring to the species prostrate habit.

Distribution and status

Found in the north-eastern part of South Australia growing on claypans and near temporary water. Also found in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in the Northern Territory. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Multi-stemmed, prostate herb to 15 cm long, glabrous. Basal leaves to 5 cm long, pinnate with 3-7 pairs of lobes with stem leaves reducing towards the tip. Flowers are white or yellow along a short spike. Flowering between July and October. Fruits are long, brown cylindrical pods. Seeds are tiny yellow semi-flat reniform seed to 0.6 mm long and 0.4 mm wide. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and December. Collect pods that are maturing, drying off and turning brown, with yellow seeds inside. Place the pods in a tray and cover with paper to prevent seeds from popping out and leave to dry for a week. Then rub the pods 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 100%. 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
BGA26,100 (1.54 g)9-Sep-2008DJD1086
BGA15,300 (1.028 g)2-Sep-2008DJD1112
Lake Eyre
18,700 (0.84 g)
18,700 (0.84 g)
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.
Germination table: