Plants of
South Australia
Isolepis trachysperma (?n)
Cyperaceae
Grassy Club-sedge
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
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Hawker
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Isolepis from the Greek 'isos' meaning equal and 'lepis' meaning scale; referring to the glumes. Trachycarpa from the Greek 'trachys' meaning rough and 'spermus' meaning seed.

Distribution and status

Found on Kangaroo Island, Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower South-east in South Australia, growing in seasonally wet areas. Also found in Victoria. From South Africa and endemic to the Cape Peninsula, perhaps introduced in Australia. Possible introduced to Australia from South Africa.
Herbarium regions: Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tufted annual or short-lived perennial sedge, stems filiform, to 12 cm high. Leaves reduced, blade to 7 mm long. Bract shorter than to slightly exceeding inflorescence. Spikelets 1–4 per inflorescence, to 5.5 mm long, glumes acute, mucronate, sides 2–3 nerved, usually dark brown, to 1.9 mm long. Flowers in spring and summer. Isolepis trachysperma superficially resembles I. hookeriana from which it is distinguished by darker coloured glumes and the nut which is lighter coloured, tuberculate, with diamond-shaped reticulate patterning. Fruits are few brown fruit-head in clusters at the end of the stems. Seeds are yellow globular seed to 0.8 mm long and 0.5 mm wide with diamond-shaped mesh-like surface. Seed embryo type is capitate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and March. Collect fruits either by picking off the mature heads, those turning brown 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 yellow 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.