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

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.


Arabidella a diminutive of 'arabis' which is a Greek word for mustard or cress. Trisecta from the Latin 'treis' meaning three and 'sectus' meaning divided, referring to the three-divided leaves.

Distribution and status

Found across much of South Australia except on the Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the South-east, growing in a variety of habitats in disurbed areas, especially on loam, clay or rocky soils. Also found in all mainland States. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, 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 woody perennial shrub to 60 cm tall; bright green in appearance. Leaves bi- or trisected to 4 cm long with linear segments. Flowers are white or yellow on a long spike. Flowering between June and October. Fruits are long brown cylindrical pods on a long spike. Seeds are small yellow 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 August 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
10,800 (2.06 g)
10,800 (2.06 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: