Plants of
South Australia
Cyperus squarrosus
Cyperaceae
Bearded Flat-sedge
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
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Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

Etymology

Cyperus from the Latin 'cyperos', derived from the Greek 'kypeiros', an ancient Greek name used by Homer and Theophrastus for several plants of this genus. Squarrosus from the Latin 'squarrosus' meaning having scales or scale-like overlapping leaves or bracts.

Distribution and status

Found in northern South Australia growing in ephemerally wet situations, commonly on sand or alluvium but is also found in relatively dry habitats. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Past records in Victoria but now 'presumed extinct'. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States. Presumed extinct in Victoria.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Murray
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Dwarf tufted annual sedge to 15 cm high, with a strong curry odour when dried. Leaves up to or as long as the stems, to 2 mm wide. Flower-spike a simple umbel. Spikelets usually in dense ovate or oblong-ovate spikes, usually brightly coloured in various shades of brown or yellow. Flowering bewteen March and July. Fruits are flat, orange-brown fruit-head in dense clusters. Seeds are black ovoid seed to 1 mm long and 0.3 mm wide, with fine tubercules and covered with a thin shiny transparent layer. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between March and September. Collect fruits either by picking off the mature heads, those turning an orange-brown colour and come-off easily or pull out the whole plant. 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. Be careful, as the seeds are very small. Seeds are black, ovoid and hard. 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 100%.

Seeds stored:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA400,000 (10.03 g)200+11-Mar-2007RJB70922
Gairdner-Torrens
19-Sep-2008100%-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.