Plants of
South Australia
Asterolasia muricata
Rutaceae
Lemon Star-bush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Asterolasia from the Greek 'aster' meaning star and 'lasios' meaning hairy, referring to the stellate tomentum on the leaves. Muricata meaning minutely rough, from the Latin 'murex' meaning shell-fish, referring to the rough texture of the leaves.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found mainly on Kangaroo Island with a small population on the Fleurieu Peninsula growing in shrubland on lateritic and sandy soils. Native. Very rare in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small slender shrub to 1 m high. Branches with dense silvery hairs. Leaves oblong to 14 mm long, muricate above, stellate-tomentose below. Flowers yellow, in the leaf axils. Flowering between August and November. Fruits are brown papery-capsule with a number of segments, each containing a seed. Seeds are black or mottled bean-like seed to 3 mm long and 1.5 mm wide. Seed embryo type is linear, fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and December. Collect capsules that are turning brown, with dark seeds in each segment. Keep an eye on the developing capsules as they will split and release the seed quickly. An option is to enclose the developing capsules with a small breathable bag. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for a week. Then rub the pods with your hands 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. From one collection, the seed viability was average, at 50%. This species has high seed predation. This species is generally difficult to germinate, it has morphophysiological dormancy and complex germination requirements.

Fire response

Obligate re-seeder, no re-sprouting observed.

Longevity: 10-15 years

Time to first flowering: 3-4 years

Recovery work

In 2020-2021 this species was assessed post-fire in 1 year old fire scars. Further populations will be assessed and seeds collected on the western side of Kangaroo Island in 2021–2022. Germination screening testing the response to fire cues will be undertaken in 2021.This project was supported by the Project Phoenix program.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
 
MSB

1,080 (3.8 g)
50+27-Oct-2006DJD500
Southern Lofty
BGA1,220 (3.09 g)50+16-Nov-2006DJD687
Kangaroo Island
1-Jun-201050%-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.