Plants of
South Australia
Isolepis marginata (∗)
Coarse Club-rush,
Little Club-rush
Display all 10 images
Distribution by Herbarium region
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier

Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 15

Prior names

Scirpus antarcticus

Isolepis cartilaginea

Scirpus marginatus

Scirpus cartilagineus

Common names

Coarse Club-rush

Little Club-rush


Isolepis, from the Greek 'isos' meaning equal and 'lepis', meaning scale, referring to the glumes. Marginata from the Latin 'marginatus', meaning enclosed with a border.

Distribution and status

Found across the southern part of South Australia, growing in damp places. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Introduced to South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales and part of Victoria. Native in Tasmania and part of Victoria.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small tufted annual sedge, to 8 cm, sometimes to 2 cm high. Stems setaceous; leaves usually well-developed, setaceous, shorter than the stems; bract 1, erect or spreading, longer than the spikelets. Spikelets 1-6 in a single cluster; ovoid or oblong, prominently angular, to 4 mm long; few-flowered; glumes boat-shaped, to 2 mm long, incurved, rigid; keel unusually stout, green, the sides shining, each with 4-6 curved nerves and a bright-brown or purplish-brown patch. Flowering between September and January. Fruits are few brown ovoid fruit-head in clusters at the end of stems. Seeds are light-brown ovoid-triangular seed to 0.8 mm long and 0.8 mm wide with a smooth surface. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and March. Collect fruits by picking off the mature heads, those turning brown and come-off easily. 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 brown 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.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA14,200 (3.44 g)501-Oct-2007RJB74633
South Eastern
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.