Plants of
South Australia
Microlepidium pilosulum
Cruciferae
Hairy Shepherd's-purse
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
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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. Pilosulum from the Latin 'pilosus' meaning hairy; referring to the plant covered in hairs.

Distribution and status

Found along the Nullarbor, western Eyre Peninsula, southern Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and in the Murrayland in South Australia, growing on sand and loam in coastal dunes and salt lake margins. Also found in Western Australia and Victoria. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Rare in Victoria. Uncommon in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Spreading to erect annual herb to 20 cm tall, branching and hairy Basal leaves obovate, to 2 cm long, remotely dentate to entire, stem leaves similar, to 1.5 cm long. Inflorescence along the upper part of the stems with tiny white flowers. Flowering between July to November. Fruits are red to brown wedge-shaped pod to 5 mm long and 2 mm wide, apex broadly notched. Seeds are brown ovoid seed to 0.7 mm long and 0.4 mm wide. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and December. Collect whole plants, those with maturing pods, turning reddish 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 average to high, ranging from 65% to 100%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
10,700 (0.48 g)
10,700 (0.48 g)
50+10-Sep-2008HPV3719
Eyre Peninsula
20-Jul-2009100%+5°C, -18°C
BGA19,000 (0.96 g)50+8-Oct-2008TST556
Kangaroo Island
20-Jul-200965%-18°C
BGA11,200 (0.47 g)50+6-Sep-2017DJD3655
Murray
30-Jun-201885%-18°C, -80°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.