Plants of
South Australia
Spergularia diandra (∗)
Small Sand-spurrey,
Lesser Sand-spurrey
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Distribution by Herbarium region
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier

Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 6

Prior names

Arenaria diandra

Common names

Small Sand-spurrey

Lesser Sand-spurrey


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. Diandra means with two stamens.

Distribution and status

Found across South Australia but mainly in the southern part, growing in salt flats and clay pans among semi-arid chenopod shrublands, floodplain woodlands and mallee communities. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Naturalised. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial or annual slender herb with a taproot and decumbent to ascending stems to 20 cm high, glabrous towards the base, glandular-pubescent above but sometimes entirely glabrous except for a few glandular hairs on the pedicels and sepals. Leaves filiform, to 3 cm long and 1 mm wide, fleshy, mostly mucronulate. Inflorescence a loose spike covered in dense hairs with pink flowers. Flowering between September and October. Fruits are brown sub-globular capsule to 2 mm long hanging down on a long stalk. Seeds are dark brown to black reniform to triangular seeds to 0.5 mm long and 0.4 mm wide, covered with tubercules along the outer margin only. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and November. Collect capsules that are maturing, fat and turning brown and contain hard dark 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.