Plants of
South Australia
Tecticornia indica ssp. leiostachya
Brown-head Glasswort,
Brown-head Samphire
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3

Prior names

Halosarcia indica ssp. leiostachya

Arthrocnemum leiostachyum

Salicornia leiostachya

Common names

Brown-head Glasswort

Brown-head Samphire


Tecticornia from the Latin 'tectum' meaning roof (referring to the bracts) and 'cornu' meaning horn; alluding to its relationship to Salicornia. Indica meaning of or from India. Leiostachya from the Greek 'leios' meaning smooth and 'stachya' suffix meaning flower spike.

Distribution and status

Found across South Australia, growing on margins of saline water bodies, often associated with sand over calcrete. Also found in all mainland States. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the 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

Stout erect perennial, with fleshy cylindrical flower spikes. Fruits are corky or spongy fruiting spikes containing compressed segments layered with hard pyramidal shaped fruits. Seeds are pale brown ovoid to circular seed to 1.5 mm long, with a membranous outer covering. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and March. Collect spikes that are dry and brown. Seeds are hidden in the segments of the stems. Place the spikes in a tray and leave to dry for 1-2 weeks. Then rub the spikes gently with your hands or a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be careful as the seeds are very small. 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 low at 49%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Germination table: