Plants of
South Australia
Isoetopsis graminifolia
Grass Buttons,
Grass Cushion
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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: 4

Common names

Grass Buttons

Grass Cushion


Isoetopsis means resembling the genus Isoetes (genus name from the Greek 'isos' meaning ever and 'etas' meaning green); alluding to the habit resembling that of Isoetes. Graminifolia from the Latin 'gramen' meaning grass and 'folium' meaning a leaf; alluding to the grass-like appearance of the species.

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the central part of South Australia, growing on sandy to loamy soil in mallee, shrubland, dunes, pastures and woodland. Also found in all states. Native. Common in South Australia. rare in the Northern territory and Tasmania. 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, 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

Grass like annual herb to 5 cm tall with no stem. Leaves somewhat succulent, clustered at the base of the plant, to 50 mm long and 2 mm wide, flattened cylindrical, hairy when young, then hairless, with pointed tips. Flower-heads elliptical or hemispherical, crowded among the leaves at the base of the plant with tiny greenish to pale flowers with no petal. Flowering between July and October. Fruits are dense pale brown head. Seed embryo type is spatulate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and December. Collectwhole plants that are brown or turning brown. Each head should have numerous tiny seeds. Place the heads in a tray for a week to dry. Then rub the heads gently with your hands to dislodge the seeds. Use a fine sieve to separate the seeds from the unwanted material. The seeds are tiny dark brown and ovoid in shape. 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. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.