Plants of
South Australia
Bergia diacheiron
Elatinaceae
Clasping Water-fire
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Etymology

Bergia named after Dr Petter Jonas Bergius (1730-90), Swedish physician and botanist. Diacheiron refers to the character of the prominent bracteoles clasping and partially enclosing the flower.

Distribution and status

Found in the north central and north-eastern parts of South Australia, growing on sandy, gravelly or clay soils. Also found in the Northern Territory and Queensland. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Uncommon in the Northern Territory. Common in Queensland.
Herbarium region: Lake Eyre
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Prostrate perennial herb. Indumentum of eglandular hairs or lacking. Leaves elliptic, to 5.5 mm long and 2.5 mm wide, acute or rarely mucronate, glabrous, margin serrate, venation obscure. Stipules to 2 mm long and 1 mm wide. Flowers solitary, sessile. Bracteoles appressed to and shorter than calyx, elliptic, to 2 mm long and 0.6 mm wide, margin broad, white, fimbriate. Sepals 5, ovate, to 2.2 mm long and 1.2 mm wide, acuminate, glabrous or sparsely pubescent, green, margin broad, white, laciniate, keel obscure or absent. Petals 5, narrow-obovate, to 2.5 mm long and 0.7 mm wide, obtuse, rarely mucronate, longer than sepals, erect at anthesis. Stamens 3-5, to 1 6 mm long, filament flattened, dilated at base. Fruits are globular capsule to 1.2 mm diameter, 3-locular. Seeds are linear.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect stems with maturing capsules, those that are fat, drying off and contain brown seeds. Place the stems in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the plant especially the capsules gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a fine sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be very careful as the seeds are very small. 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.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA7,700 (0.21 g)29-Sep-2007Bloodwood Bore
Lake Eyre
19-Sep-2008100%-18°C
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.