Plants of
South Australia
Bulbostylis barbata
Cyperaceae
Bearded Watergrass
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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

Bulbostylis from the Latin 'bulbus' meaning bulb and 'stylus' meaning style, alluding to the bulb-like style base. Barbata meaning bearded, referring to the bearded sheath on the stems.

Distribution and status

Found scattered across the northern part of South Australia in rock crevices, margins of watercourses and low-lying flats. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small annual sedge with filiform glabrous stems to 20 cm high. Leaves almost capillary, usually much shorter than the stems, the sheaths prominently bearded. Inflorescence erect-spreading, light-brown spikelets. Fruits are brown heads. Seeds are light brown three-sided triangular nut to 0.7 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, with fine tuberculate surface. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect whole heads that are brown, containing hard seeds. Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the heads with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any 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 one collection, the seed viability was high, at 95%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA35,600 (2.28 g)50+19-May-2007RJB71962
Lake Eyre
19-Sep-200895%+5°C, -18°C
BGA34,000 (1.92 g)100+8-May-2011DJD2166
Lake Eyre
1-Jan-2012 -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.