Plants of
South Australia
Poranthera leiosperma
Mallee Poranthera,
Small Poranthera,
Small-leaf Poranthera
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1

Common names

Mallee Poranthera

Small Poranthera

Small-leaf Poranthera


Poranthera from the Greek 'porus' meaning opening or pore and 'anthera' meaning anther; referring to the terminal pores of the anther cells. Leiosperma from the Greek 'leios' meaning smooth and 'spermus' meaning a seed; referring to the smooth white seed.

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the north-western part of South Australia, with scattered records in the southern part, growing on sandy mallee areas, open shrubland in sandplains and dunefields. Also found in all mainland states except for Queensland. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in Victoria. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Murray, South Eastern
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Compact spreading annual herb to 10 cm tall. Leaves alternating along the stems or opposite each other, narrow-obovate, to 15 mm long and 4.1 mm wide, flat, hairless, edges slightly curved under, with blunt tips. Inflorescence in dense rounded clusters at the tops of the stems with male and female inflorescence on the same plant, male flowers white, female flowers pink. This species is similar to Poranthera microphylla which have shorter leaves (6-11 mm long) and the plant is more delicate. Flowering between September and November. Fruits are depressed globular capsule to 1.8 mm diameter with 3 lobed and 6 seeds. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and January. Collect individual mature capsules, those that are drying off, fat and contain dark hard seeds or pull out the whole plant (annual) to allow capsules to continue to mature. Green capsules can be collected if the seeds are dark and hard. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then gently rub the capsules with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieves to separate the 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.