Plants of
South Australia
Baumea arthrophylla
Fine Twig-sedge
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.


Baumea named after Antoine Baume (1728–1804), a French chemist and inventor. Arthrophylla from the Greek 'arthron' meaning joint and 'phyllon' meaning leaf.

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the southern part of South Australia from the Gammon Ranges, with isolated distribution in hot springs further north, growing mainly in swamps. Also found in all other States. Native. Common in South Australia. Rare in Northern Territory and Queensland. Common in all other States.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial sedge with stems to 2 m high; slender, subterete or compressed, indistinctly septate with one stem leaf with a short lamina or reduced almost to the sheath. Inflorescence a spike to 25 cm long with brown spikelets. Flowering between September and March. Fruits are large brown fruit heads at the tip of stems. Seeds are light brown, woody ellipsoid nut to 4 mm long and 2 mm wide. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and May. Collect whole heads that are brown, containing dark hard seeds. Not all heads will contain seeds. Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the heads with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any 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 is generally difficult to germinate, it has morphophysiological dormancy and complex germination requirements.

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

2,300 (1.37 g)
South Eastern
BGA13,700 (12.68 g)100+12-Mar-2010TST923
Southern Lofty
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.