Plants of
South Australia
Microlepidium alatum
Cruciferae
Winged-fruit Shepherd's-purse
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Hawker
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Etymology

Microlepidium from the Greek 'mikros' meaning small and the genus Lepidium (from the Greek 'lepis' meaning a scale); alluding to much smaller habit of the genus to Lipidium. Alatum from the Latin 'alatus ' meaning winged; referring to the winged fruit pod.

Distribution and status

Found on the western Eyre Peninsula and along the Nullarbor in South Australia, growing in sheltered sites, particularly in moss beds on sandy loam over sheet limestone in Melaleuca lanceolata open-woodland. Also found in Western Australia. Native. Rare in South Australia. Very rare in Western Australia.
Herbarium region: Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small spreading to erect annual herb to 20 cm tall with stout and hairless stems, rarely branching. Basal leaves obovate, entire and up to 2 cm long. Stem leaves obovate, remotely dentate to entire, to 1.5 cm long. Inflorescence along the upper part of the stems with tiny white flowers, without petals. Flowering between July to September. Fruits are brown globular to cordate pod to 5.5 mm long, slightly compressed, with two flattened wings. Seeds are broadly ellipsoid, 0.8�1 mm long. Seeds are orange brown ovoid seed to 1 mm long and 0.7 mm wide, with very fine tuberculates. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between August and October. Collect whole plants, those with maturing pods, 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. From two collections, the seed viability were high, at 100%.

Seeds stored:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
 
MSB

1,600 (0.3 g)
2010-Sep-2008HPV3722
Eyre Peninsula
95%
BGA4,700 (0.89 g)100+11-Sep-2008TST483
Eyre Peninsula
20-Jul-2009100%+5°C, -18°C
BGA4,000 (0.66 g)50+10-Sep-2008TST478
Eyre Peninsula
20-Jul-2009100%-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.