Plants of
South Australia
Frankenia crispa
Frankeniaceae
Hoary Sea-heath
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Frankenia named after Johan Frankenius (1590-1661), a Swedish botanist. Crispa from Latin meaning curled or wrinkled (crimped), referring to the tip of the petals.

Distribution and status

Found scattered in central South Australia growing around salt lakes and saline depressions. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Rare in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions: Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Low, densely branched shrub with branches covered in dense recurved hairs; internodes to 13 mm long. Leaves on a long-shoot to 6 mm long with petiole to1.5 mm long, narrowed markedly and more or less cylindrical distally, where 0.2–0.3 mm wide, usually hairy below; leaf-blade narrowly oblong, subterete, to 1 mm wide; margins tightly revolute, midrib prominent, raised on lower surface; surfaces greyish yellow-green, punctate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface hairy or glabrous. Short-shoot leaves similar. Flowers 2–7 in axillary spike or solitary, with pink flowers. Calyx 5-lobed, to 7 mm long and 1.5 mm wide near apex, wholly covered in short hairs or glabrous towards base; petals 5, to 10 mm long; stamens 6; style-branches 3; ovules 3. Flowering between October and December. Fruits are brown cylindrical capsule. Seeds are light brown, narrow ovoid seed to 3.5 mm long and 1 mm wide. Seed embryo type is spatulate; fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and February. Look at the tip of branches for dried flower heads. Collect the heads that are cylindrical, brown, slightly fat at the base. This should contain small ovoid seed. Place the flower heads in a tray and leave to dry for at least a week. Then rub the dried heads gently to dislodge the seeds. Use a fine sieve to separate the seeds from the unwanted material. Be careful as the seeds are very small. 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. Seed set can be low but viability is high. From two collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 80% to 100%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA180 (0.11 g)100+28-Jan-2010KHB362
Flinders Ranges
1-Jun-2010100%-18°C
BGA 
MSB
4,400 (3.37 g)
4,400 (3.37 g)
5014-Dec-2010KHB362
Flinders Ranges
1-Jan-201280%-18°C
BGA870 (0.57 g)100+9-Dec-2011KHB645
Flinders Ranges
2-May-2017100%-18°C
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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