Plants of
South Australia
Blennodia canescens
Winter Cress
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.


Blennodia from the Greek 'blennos' meaning slime, referring to the mucous seeds. Canescens from the Latin 'canescens' meaning becoming grey, referring to the greyish appearance of the plant.

Distribution and status

Found scattered in the northern part of South Australia, growing on sand in dunes and swales. Also found in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect annual herb to 50 cm tall with hairy stems and branches. Leaves pinnate with 2-5 pairs of lobes to 12 cm long, reducing towards the apex. Flowers white, pink or lavender on a long spike. Flowering between July and September. Fruits are long, brown cylindrical pods held erect along the stem. This differs from Blennodia pterosperma where the pods are hanging down. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between August and November. 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 85%. 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
BGA4,000 (0.72 g)27-Aug-2008DJD1140
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.