Plants of
South Australia
Amaranthus mitchellii
Amaranthaceae
Boggabri Weed
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
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Etymology

Amaranthus from the Greek 'a' meaning not and 'marantos' meaning withering; a name used for an everlasting flower. Mitchellii named in honour of Sir Thomas Mitchell (1792-1855), a surveyor, explorer and botanical collector.

Distribution and status

Found in the arid north of South Australia, growing on drainage lines, floodplains or banks of watercourses in grey clay particularly after flooding events. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect or ascending annual or ephemeral herb to 60 cm high. Leaves on petioles to 40 mm long, ovate or narrowly ovate to oblong. Flower-spike axillary, dense, globose clusters or short spikes to 10 mm long, predominantly female flowers present. Flowers throughout the year. Fruits are clusters of globular papery capsules to 1.5 mm long. Seeds are semi-flat round black seed less than 1mm across. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and April. Collect mature capsules, those that are turning a pale straw colour and contain black seeds. Whole stem containing many clusters of fruit can be collected. Place the capsules/stems in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. Then rub the capsules/stems gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a 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. From one collection, the seed viability was low, at 35%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA20,000 (2.34 g)508-May-2007RJB71567B
Lake Eyre
19-Sep-200835%-18°C
BGA9,800 (5.54 g)29-Oct-2017DJD3677
Lake Eyre
30-Jun-201875%-18°C, -80°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.