Plants of
South Australia
Cleome viscosa
Capparaceae
Mustard Bush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

Etymology

Cleome an ancient name for a mustard-like plant, given by Octavius Horatianus, a Roman physician. Viscosa from the Latin 'viscosus' meaning sticky; alluding to the plant being viscous.

Distribution and status

Found in the northern part of South Australia, associated with river beds, creeks or waterholes. 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, Flinders Ranges
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Annual herbs with few erect branches each faintly ridged and with glandular hairs. Leaves petiolate, with 3-5 leaflets more or less with glandular hairs. Leaflets oblanceolate, rarely obovate or elliptic, acute to rounded. Flower-head a raceme with leaf-like bracts usually trifoliolate and sessile with large yellow flowers. Flowering between February and October, possibly all year. Fruits are long brown linear-oblong pod to 8 cm long and 4 mm broad, with raised veins forming vertical ridges on the valves, erect on the stem. Seeds are dark brown reniform seed to 1.5 mm diameter, surface rugose with more or less well developed transverse ridges from the centre. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between July and December. Collect mature pods that are turning brown with hard, dark seeds inside. Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for 1-2 weeks or until the pods begin to split. Then rub the dried pods to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any 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 high, at 85%.

Seeds stored:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA17,100 (17.32 g)50+25-Oct-2007TST212
Lake Eyre
19-Sep-200885%-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.