Plants of
South Australia
Chenopodium desertorum ssp. microphyllum
Small-leaf Goosefoot
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3

Prior names

Chenopodium microphyllum, nom.illeg., non Thunb.(1794)

Chenopodium cochlearifolium

Chenopodium pseudomicrophyllum


Chenopodium from the Greek 'chen' meaning goose and 'pod' meaning foot, referring to the shape of the leaves in some species. Desertorum from the Greek 'desertorum' meaning to grow in deserts. Microphyllum from the Greek 'micros', meaning small and 'phyllon', meaning leaf.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern part of South Australia from the Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula to the upper South-east, growing in a range of habitats. Also found in all mainland states. Native. Common in South Australia. Rare in the Northern Territory. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, 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

Intricately branched prostrate to decumbent perennial. Stems and leaves variably covered with globose or saucer-shaped vesicular hairs. Leaves petiolate, ovate to circular, to 10 mm long, mealy below, glabrescent above. Inflorescences not or only shortly exceeding leaves, tepals covered on outer surface with globoid or saucer-shaped vesicular hairs. Flowering possible all year. Fruits are enveloped by perianth that are covered with white vesicular hairs. Seeds are black globular reniform seed to 1 mm diameter, slightly rugulose. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect fruit-heads that are maturing, turning pale brown firm black seeds inside. Place the fruits-heads in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then gently rub the fruits with your fingers or a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to seperate the unwanted material. 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. This species has physiological dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).