Plants of
South Australia
Aristida behriana
Brush Wire-grass
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3


Aristida from the Latin 'arista' meaning awned, alluding to the awned lemma. Behriana named after Hermann H. Behr (1818-1904), a German-American doctor, entomologist and botanist, who collected in South Australia.

Distribution and status

Found in dry areas on the Eyre Peninsula,  the Flinders Ranges and the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia, growing in grassland and open woodland on loamy soils. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in Queensland. Common in other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Short tufted perennial grass to 40 cm tall, with leaf blades convolute up to 25 cm long and 2 mm wide. Inflorescence dense and contracted to 15 cm long and almost as wide. Glumes unequal, the lower about two-thirds the length of the upper; 1-nerved, keels scabrid, the lower to 12 mm long, aristulate, the upper to 20 mm long, with an awn to 2.5 mm long. Lemma to 12 mm long (including the callus of 1 mm); convolute, smooth to sometimes scabrid apically. Awns 18-56 mm long, subequal, the laterals shorter by 1-5 mm, filiform. Flowering possible all year depending on rain but mainly between September and November. Fruits are pale brown with three unequal awns much longer than the base. Seeds are long pale grain to 12 mm long and lees than 1 mm wide. Seed embryo type is lateral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and January. Use hands to gently strip seeds off the mature seed spike that are turning straw colour. Mature seeds will come off easily. Alternatively, you can break off the whole seed spike. Place the seeds/spike in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. No further cleaning is required if only seed collected. If seed spikes collected, use hand to strip off the mature seeds. 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 viability can be low.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA31,900 (84.87 g)50+26-Nov-2005KHB12
Eyre Peninsula
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.