Plants of
South Australia
Beyeria opaca
Euphorbiaceae
Dark Turpentine Bush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Beyeria named after the Rudolf Beyer (1852-1932), a Dutch cryptogamist. Opaca from the Latin 'opacus' meaning shady, dark.

Distribution and status

Found in the central part of South Australia from Maralinga in the west to the Murray River, growing in dune mallee communities, often on calcareous red earths. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Rare in Western Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Yorke Peninsula
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

Small sticky dioecious shrub to 1 m high with slender branches and yellowish green branchlets at first, turning dark grey. Leaves oblong to cuneate to 15 mm long and 3 mm wide; glabrous, glossy green above, paler below. Flowers solitary, axillary and/or terminal on short shoots. Male sepals yellow to brown; female sepals greenish and shorter. Flowering between June and November. Fruits are dark green ovoid capsule to 6 mm long, containing 2 seed. Seeds are mottled brown ovoid seed oblong to 6 mm long and 4 mm wide, topped by a yellow fleshy aril. Seed embryo type is spathulate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and January. Collect maturing capsules, fat, green and containing dark, hard seed. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for a week or two. Then gently rub the capsules with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieves 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. Seed viability can be variable and seeds are prone to predation. This species is generally difficult to germinate, it has morphophysiological dormancy and complex germination requirement.