Kath Alcock paintings: 7
Helophytum natans var. minus
Crassula the diminutive of the Latin 'crassus' meaning thick, alluding to the fleshy leaves and branches. Natans from the Latin 'natare' meaning to float or swim, referring to the species' habitat usually in standing water. Minus from Latin meaning small, referring to the small size of the variety.
Distribution and status
Found in southern South Australia growing in moist soil in and around shallow standing water of dams and rock pools. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Introduced. Common in South Australia. Common in the others States.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)
Annual herb with decumbent filiform branches to 10 cm long and often much branched when growing on a marshy substrate, or slender floating branches to 25 cm long. Leaves linear to 8 mm long and 1 mm wide in marsh plants, or to 14 mm long and 2 mm wide in plants with floating branches, dorsiventrally flattened and slightly fleshy, at least in marsh plants, green to a pale reddish-brown. Inflorescence a single flower (rarely 2 or 3 in marsh plants), in the axils of the leaf-like bracts with tiny white flowers. Flowering between August and November but may continue as long as moisture is available. Fruits are small brown capsules along the stems.
Seed collection and propagation
Collect seeds between October and January. Collect whole plants that are drying off, turning red-brown with mature fruit-spikes. These will contain very small brown seeds when rubbed with your fingers. Place the plants in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. Then rub the plants 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. 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.