Plants of
South Australia
Aristida arida
Dry Wire-grass
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Aristida from the Latin 'arista' meaning awned, alluding to the awned lemma. Arida from the Latin meaning dry, alluding to its habitat in arid places.

Distribution and status

Found in the central region of N South Australia. Also found in Northern Territory. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in Northern Territory.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Flinders Ranges, Eastern
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tufted perennial grass to 80cm tall with leaf blades flat to involute to 20cm long and 2mm wide. Inflorescence narrow and spike-like to 40cm long. Glumes unequal, smooth, the lower 6-11 mm long, with a scabrous keel, 1-nerved, aristulate, the upper glume 8-13 mm long. Lemma 8-10.5 mm long (including the callus of 0.5-1 mm), convolute; densely spiny-tuberculate towards the apex. Awns subequal to 19 mm long, scaberulous, flattened. Fruits are pale brown with three unequal awns longer than the base. Seeds are long pale grain to 7mm long. Seed embryo type is lateral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between August and November. Use hands to gently strip seeds off the mature seed spike that are turning straw colour. Mature seeds will come off easily. Alternatively, you can break off the whole seed spike. Place the seeds/spike in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. No further cleaning is required if only seed collected. If seed spikes collected, use hand to strip off the mature seeds. 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%.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
5,500 (23.11 g)
5,500 (23.11 g)
Flinders Ranges
9-Aug-2006100%+5°C, -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.