Plants of
South Australia
Menkea crassa
Cruciferae
Fat Spectacles
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Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
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Extinct
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
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Oodnadatta
Renmark
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Keith
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Etymology

Menkea, named after Karl Theodor Menke (1791-1861), a German malacologist, physician and botanist. Crassa, from the Latin 'crassus', meaning thick, fleshy, referring to its thick, fleshy leaves.

Distribution and status

Found in the northern part of South Australia growing in a variety of habitats on sandy, often disturbed soils. Also found in the Northern Territory and Queensland. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Decumbent or prostrate herb with stems to 25 cm long; glabrous, stout, branching. Basal leaves linear to spatulate; entire, fleshy, glaucous with stem leaves reducing. Inflorescence an elongating spike with tiny white, cream or yellow flowers. Flowering between June and October. Fruits are brown ellipsoid pod to 6.5 mm long and 3.6 mm wide; slightly compressed. Seeds are dark brown ellipsoid seed to 0.6 mm long and 0.4 mm wide, with a slightly wrinkled surface. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and November. Collect maturing pods those turning pale brown with hard seeds inside. Take care 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. From two collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 80% to 100%.

Seeds stored:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
390,000 (7.65 g)
390,000 (7.65 g)
100+22-Oct-2007MJT148
Lake Eyre
19-Sep-200880%-18°C
BGA85,600 (2.74 g)20+5-Oct-2010TST1023
Lake Eyre
1-Jan-2012100%-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.