Plants of
South Australia
Asperula subsimplex
Water Woodruff
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 6.


Asperula from the Latin 'asper' meaning rough, alluding to the stiff hairs on the leaves and stems. Subsimplex meaning nearly unbranched, alluding to the often sparingly branched habit of the species.

Distribution and status

Found in South Australia only in the lower South-east, growing in damp or swampy areas. Also found in Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Rare in south Australia. Rare in Tasmania. Common in Victoria.
Herbarium region: South Eastern
NRM region: South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Prostrate or decumbent perennial with slender stems to 30 cm long, often sparingly branched, usually glabrous. Leaves in whorls of 4, linear to linear-lanceolate, to 12 mm long and 1 mm wide; acute with surfaces almost glabrous; margins flat or slightly recurved, sometimes with a few tiny curved hairs. Inflorescences terminal clusters with 3–5 white flowers, usually longer than leaves. Corolla 1.5–3 mm long on male and female flowers; corolla tube as long as lobes. Flowering between November and January. Fruits are brown reniform fruit to 2 mm long, deeply lobed and rugose.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and February. Collect maturing fruits by picking off the clusters that are fat and turning brown or breaking off stems with numerous fruit clusters. Place the fruits in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the fruits with a rubber bung 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.