Plants of
South Australia
Frankenia pauciflora var. fruticulosa
Shrubby Sea-heath,
Southern Sea-heath,
Common Sea-heath
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Prior names

Frankenia pauciflora var. trichosticha

Frankenia pauciflora var. incrustata

Frankenia fruticulosa

Common names

Shrubby Sea-heath

Southern Sea-heath

Common Sea-heath


Frankenia named after Johan Frankenius (1590-1661), a Swedish botanist. Pauciflora from the Latin 'paucus' meaning few and 'florus' meaning flowers, referring to the small number of flowers produced by the species. Fruticulosa from the Latin 'frutex' meaning a shrub, referring to the shrubby habit of this variety.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found scattered across central South Australia, primarily along the coast, growing on the margins of saltmarsh and salt lakes. Native. Common in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

A small, shrubby perennial to 90 cm high. Leaves to 13 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, usually narrowly oblong or elliptic to linear, rarely ovate or elliptic; mid-vein broad, flat, very prominent. Inflorescence a terminal or axillary cluster bearing 2-25 flowers; petals 5, rarely 4, spathulate to 10.5 mm long, white. Flowers throughout the year. The variety differs from the other variety found in South Australia by having longer but narrower leaf ratio of 4:1 or less (5:1 or greater in F. pauciflora var. gunnii), mid-vein broad, flat, very prominent (mid-vein inconspicuous in F. pauciflora var. gunnii) and 6-13 ovules (7-18 in in F. pauciflora var. gunnii). Fruits are small brown cylindrical capsule. Seed embryo type is spatulate, fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. 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.