Plants of
South Australia
Scleranthus pungens
Caryophyllaceae
Prickly Knawel
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
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: 3.

Etymology

Scleranthus from the Greek 'skleros' meaning hard and 'anthos' meaning flower; alluding to the hardened fruiting calyx. Pungens from Latin meaning sharply pointed, spiny; referring to the leaves pungent ends.

Distribution and status

Found in the central part of South Australia, from the Gammon Ranges to the Kangaroo Island. growing on dry sandy soil using in rocking places. Also found in New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in New South Wales.
Herbarium regions: Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Rigid perennial herb to 30 cm high, with many ascending stems. Leaves linear-lanceolate to 15 mm long, rigid, pungent-pointed. Flowers sessile in clusters, mostly terminal rarely in axils of leaves, and each flower sheltered by a broad bract, flowers white with light green centre. Flowering between August and October. Fruits are pale brown conical capsule. 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. From one collection, the seed viability was average, at 75%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
6,900 (9.72 g)
6,900 (9.72 g)
602-Nov-2005DJD172
Gairdner-Torrens
28-Jul-200675%-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.