Plants of
South Australia
Polycarpaea arida
Caryophyllaceae
Inland Copper Plant
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
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Oodnadatta
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Wudinna
Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

Etymology

Polycarpaea from the Greek 'polycarpos', the name of some plants and derived from 'polys' meaning many and 'carpos' meaning fruit. Arida from the Latin 'aridus' meaning dry; alluding to the species arid habitat in the centre of Australia.

Distribution and status

Found in the far northern part of South Australia, growing on top of breakaways and along drainage lines. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. Common in Northern Territory.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial herb with short and procumbent or somewhat erect stems to 10 cm long, stems covered in white hairs. Leaves linear to linear-lanceolate, mucronate, often clustered, glabrous, to 1 cm long. Flowers terminal of stems in forked groups with short copper red and white petals. Flowering throughout the year. Fruits are brown ovoid capsule to 2 mm long, opening by 3 valves. Seeds are translucent brown ovoid brown seed to 4 mm long and 3 mm wide. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect heads that are drying off and turning brown, these should contain small brown seeds. Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for 1 to 2 weeks. Then rub the dried heads with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Be 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.

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

13,000 (1.2 g)
20+30-Aug-2008DJD1159
Lake Eyre
90%
BGA21,300 (1 g)2523-May-2012KHB682
Flinders Ranges
1-Jan-201675%-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.