Plants of
South Australia
Spergularia marina
Caryophyllaceae
Salt Sand-spurrey
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.

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. Marina means of the sea.

Distribution and status

Found across much of South Australia, growing primarily in and around edges of salt marshes and other saline environments. Also found in all states. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in Northern Territory and Queensland. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, 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, biennial or perennial herb to 35 cm high. Leaves linear-lanceolate, acute or mucronulate, to 4 cm long and 1 mm wide, distinctly fleshy. Inflorescence a loose spike with pink or whitish flowers. Flowers throughout the year. Fruits are brown ovoid capsule to 6 mm long. Seeds are brown reniform seeds to 0.7 mm long and 0.6 mm wide, covered with tubercules. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect capsules that are maturing, fat and turning brown and contain hard 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. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 100%.