Plants of
South Australia
Spergularia bocconei (∗)
Caryophyllaceae
Boccone's Sea-spurrey
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Distribution by Herbarium region
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta

Etymology

Spergularia is derived from the genus Spergula, first used by De l'Obel for Sagina spergula which is now known as Spergula amensis, and probably derived from the Latinisation of Spergel, the German name of this plant or from the Latin 'spargo' meaning sow or scatter; referring to the discharge of seeds. Bocconei named after Paolo Silvio Boccone (1633-1704), an Italian botanist, monk and physician.

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the southern part of South Australia, growing in sandy depressions and saline swamps of grasslands and scrublands. Also found in all states except in the Northern Territory. Weed. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, 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, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Annual or biennial herb to 0.3 m high with slender taproot and decumbent branches from the base. Leaves mucronate or shortly caudate, to 45 mm long and 1 mm wide, usually glabrous. Inflorescence a loose spike covered in dense glandular hairs with white or pink flowers. Flowering from September to December. Fruits are brown ovoid to subglobose capsule to 4 mm long. Seeds are yellow-brown reniform seeds to 0.4 mm long and 0.3 mm wide, covered with dense tubercules. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and January. Collect capsules that are maturing, fat and turning brown and contain hard pale brown seeds. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. Then rub the capsules gently by hand or with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be very careful as the seeds are very small. Seeds should be hard and brown. 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.