Plants of
South Australia
Gahnia lanigera
Cyperaceae
Desert Saw-sedge
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

Etymology

Gahnia named after Dr. Henricus Gahn, 19th century Swedish botanist and student of Linnaeus. Lanigera from Latin meaning woolly, referring to the woolly ligules at the mouth of the sheath.

Distribution and status

Found in southern South Australia on sandy soils in mallee and heathland. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in New South Wales. Common in Victoria.
Herbarium regions: Nullarbor, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tufted perennial sedge with slender culms to 30 cm high and 1 mm diameter. Leaves filiform, channelled, erect, pungent, smooth; longer than culm, shorter than or equalling inflorescence; ligule woolly. Inflorescence slender, erect, to 20 cm long, with 2–5 nodes. Flowers in spring and summer. Fruits are dark brown to black narrow dense spike, giving it the local name of 'black grass'. Seeds are dark brown to black three-sided ovoid seed to 1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide with fine tuberculate surface. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and March. Collect heads that are dying off, turning dark brown and containing hard dark 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 average, at 65%.

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

1,500 (0.83 g)
50+19-Feb-2016DJD3331
South Eastern
65%
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.
Germination table:
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