Dampiera named after William Dampier (1652-1715), an English buccaneer and explorer, who collected botanical specimens on the north-west coast of Australia in 1699 as commander of H.M.S. Roebuck. Dysantha from the Greek 'dys' meaning bad or difficult and 'anthos' meaning flower, unsure what this is referring to but may possibly be a reference to the difficulty found by Bentham when looking at the characteristic of the species, which has 'indumentum of the flowers much longer and looser, as in D. lanceolata, but upper leaves much revolute and white underneath, as in D. rosmarinifolia'.
Distribution and status
Found in southern part of South Australia from the Eyre Peninsula and Flinders Ranges to the South-east, growing on heavier loam or clayey soil in mallee and woodlands. Also found in Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in Victoria.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)
Erect or decumbent subshrub to 70 cm high with terete, deeply ribbed stems covered sparsely in white-tomentose hairs, particularly in grooves, glabrescent with age. Leaves sessile, oblong-elliptic, to 16 mm long and 6 mm wide, upper surface glabrous or glabrescent, papillate, lower surface tomentose, margins entire or toothed, usually revolute but not concealing lower surface. Inflorescence loose spike with 5–7 blue, rarely lilac or white flowers. Sepals to 0.5 mm long, tomentose. Corolla to 11 mm long, blue or rarely lilac or white inside, rusty- and grey-tomentose outside. This species is similar to D. rosmarinifolia but can be distinguished by its glabrescent papillate stem, entire or dentate leaves which are less revolute and the yellowish hairs on the corolla. Flowering between August and October. Fruits obovoid to 4 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, covered in grey hairs. Seeds orange-brown, oblong, woody to 3.5 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, with deep wrinkled surface. Seed embryo type is spatulate.
Seed collection and propagation
Collect seeds between September and December. Collect maturing fruits, those that are fat and contain hard seeds inside. Collecting good mature fruits will be time consuming as few fruits may be produced. Place the fruit in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. Then rub the fruits gently with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any 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 This species tends to produce very few viable seeds.