Plants of
South Australia
Hemichroa mesembryanthema
Amaranthaceae
Pigface Hemichroa
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Hemichroa from the Greek 'hemi', meaning half and 'chroa', meaning colour, referring to the perianth of Hemichroa pentandra which is sometimes pink inside; whitish outside. Mesembryanthema from the Greek 'mesembria', meaning noon and 'anthemon', meaning flower, alluding to the flowers blooming at noon.

Distribution and status

Found in the north central part of South Australia, growing with samphire and chenopod species on low-lying flats, mound springs, or along drainage systems in saline clay loam. Also found in Queensland. Native. Rare in South Australia. Uncommon in Queensland.
Herbarium region: Lake Eyre
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect, bushy, woody shrub to 150 cm high with branches divaricate, finely striate, glabrous or papillose; often spine-tipped. Leaves grey-green, opposite to 20 mm long and 4 mm wide . Flower-spike solitary, axillary, with white and to pink flowers and red stamens, Flowering between March and April. Fruits are brown woody fruit, persistent in bract axils. Seeds are brown pear-shaped seed to 3 mm long and 2 mm wide. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect fruit that are brown. Look for those with plump swelling at base. Place the fruit in a tray to dry. No further cleaning is required for storage. Each half of the fruit contain a seed in the woody swollen base. Store the fruit 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 40%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA8,800 (375 g)308-Oct-2010TST1064
Lake Eyre
1-Jan-201240%-18°C
 
MSB

3,300 (336.8 g)
50+1-Nov-2013TST1186
Lake Eyre
40%
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.