Plants of
South Australia
Styphelia adscendens
Golden Heath
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.


Styphelia from the Greek 'styphelos' meaning hard or rough; alluding to the stiff prickly-pointed leaves. Adscendens from Latin meaning to rise obliquely rather than erect; referring to the species habit.

Distribution and status

Found natural in the South-east and introduced to the southern Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia, growing in heathland, heathy woodland or open-forest on sandy. Also found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Uncommon in New South Wales. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Prostrate or decumbent shrub to 60 cm high with hairy stems. Leaves ascending,often slightly twisted, lanceolate or oblanceolate, to 32 mm long and 6 mm wide, glabrous, margins flat to slightly recurved. Inflorescence erect, solitary or 2 close together in axil with cream, pale yellow-green or occasionally reddish, long tubular, densely bearded flowers, with protruding anthers and stamens. Flowering between June and November. Fruits are ovoid fruit to 8.5 mm long, with a thin fleshy layer and woody endocarp with 5 or fewer sections, each with one seed. Seeds are soft, white longitudinal seed, within the woody endocarp. Seed embryo type is linear underdeveloped.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and December. Collect individual fruit by hand when ripe, fleshy layer soft and a pale colour. Check to see if locules are filled with seed by cutting the woody endocarp in half. The thin fleshy layer does not need to be cleaned off for storage, just leave it to dry for one to two weeks before storing with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. If you do want to clean the flesh off, then place the berries in a bucket of water and leave to soak over night. Rub the flesh off by hand. Drain and wash again if required to remove all the fleshy parts. Then spread the wet seeds onto paper towels and leave to dry. 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 have morphophysiological dormancy and will not germinate readily without treatment. Germination is enhanced by treating with fire cues, heat and smoke water, and gibberellic acid.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA260 (7.72 g)22-Dec-2010Muddy Flat
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.