Plants of
South Australia
Irenepharsus phasmatodes
Cruciferae
Kangaroo Island Cress
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
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Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
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Etymology

Irenepharsus from the Greek 'irene' meaning peace and 'pharsos' meaning a piece; referring to the resolution of a taxonomic problem. Phasmatodes from the Greek 'phasmatodes' meaning phantom-like, in allusion to the identification of the species.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found only on the western end of Kangaroo Island, growing on laterite soil. Native. Rare in South Australia. More common post fire.
Herbarium region: Kangaroo Island
NRM region: Kangaroo Island
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect annual or biennial, sparingly branched herb to 90 cm tall, stems glabrous. Basal leaves rosette and pinnate, persisting. Stem leaves sparse, to 6 cm long, linear, entire. Flowers along a short spike with large white flower. Flowering between November and February. Fruits are brown cylindrical pod to 22 mm long and 1.5 mm wide. Seeds are dark brown reinform seed to 1.2 mm long and 0.7 mm wide, with small net-like surface. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and March. Collect maturing pods those turning pale brown with hard seeds inside. Be gentle with the pods as they split open easily. Place the pods in a tray and cover with paper to prevent seeds from popping out and leave to dry for a week. Then rub the dried pods gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate 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. Seed viability is usually high for the species if collected at maturity. This species has physiological dormancy that need to be overcome for the seed to germinate.

Fire response

Obligate re-seeder.

Longevity: >2 years

Time to flowering: 1 year

Recovery work

In 2020-2021 this species was assessed post-fire in 1 year old fire scars. A total of 252,700 seeds have been collected & banked for 2 populations in Flinders Chase National Park. Germination screening testing the response to fire cues will be undertaken in 2021.This project was supported by the Project Phoenix program.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA8,000 (1.55 g)25+15-Dec-2008MJT218
Kangaroo Island
20-Jul-2009100%+5°C, -18°C
BGA 
MSB
7,700 (1.48 g)
6,800 (1.3 g)
100+11-Nov-2008TST571
Kangaroo Island
20-Jul-200985%-18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.