Plants of
South Australia
Scleranthus minusculus
Caryophyllaceae
Cushion Knawel
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Arkaroola
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Hawker
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

Etymology

Scleranthus from the Greek 'skleros' meaning hard and 'anthos' meaning flower; alluding to the hardened fruiting calyx. Minusculus from Latin meaning rather small; alluding to the species small habit.

Distribution and status

Found on the upper Eyre Peninsula and lower Murray are in South Australia, growing in sandy area. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Uncommon in New South Wales. Common in Victoria.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Murray
NRM regions: Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Annual herb, sprawling or to 15 cm tall. Leaves in clusters on the stems, in opposite pairs, the bases of each pair of leaves joined and encircling the stem. Leaves to 12 mm long, linear, hairless, with stiff, somewhat sharp, straight points. Flowers in few clusters at the bases of the leaves and on the ends of the stems, tiny (less than 3mm across), with 5 green petals. Flowering between August and October. Fruits are pale brown hard fruit to 3.8 mm long and 6.1 mm wide, with 5 long outspreading sepals. Seeds are brown tear-shaped seed to 1 mm long and 0.6 mm wide. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and December. Collect heads that are drying off and turning brown, these should contain small brown seeds. Be careful as plant can be prickly. 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 fruits. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Seeds are enclosed in the hard fruit and can be stored as is. 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.

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

15,700 (0.46 g)
508-Sep-2007RJB74160
Murray
100%
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.