Plants of
South Australia
Gyrostemon thesioides
Gyrostemonaceae
Broom Wheel-fruit
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Vulnerable
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
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Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.

Etymology

Gyrostemon from the Greek 'gyros' meaning a circle and 'stemon' meaning a stamen, alluding to the whorled stamens. Thesioides means resembling the genus Thesium (the bastard toadflax, with which Theseus crowned his wife Ariadne with a garland).

Distribution and status

Found in southern South Australia growing on sandy soil. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Rare in the other States. More common post fire.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: 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)

Plant description

Short-lived shrubs to 70 cm high, with slender erect almost virgate branches, usually with decurrent ridges from the leaf bases when young. Leaves linear, to 20 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, usually sharply acute, more or less angular-teret; erect to almost appressed to the stems. Male flowers with erect pedicels to 1 mm long and 4 mm across at anthesis, with the calyx broadly lobed, with 9-12 anthers in 1 whorl. Female flowers with pedicels rarely to 1 mm long, with the calyx distinctly lobed and acute, with 2 rarely 1 carpels, each with a long stigma usually recurved onto the almost orbicular ovary. Flowering between June and November. Fruits are reddish fan-shaped fruit to 2 mm long; fleshy with multiple segments. Seeds are orange to brown reniform seeds to 2 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, with a rugose surface and a yellowish aril Seed embryo type is curved linear fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and January. Collect fruits that are plump, turning reddish or starting to dry and fall off easily. Place the fruits in a tray and leave to dry for a week. Then rub the fruit gently by hand to dislodge the seeds from the papery wing. Use a sieve 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. From one collection, the seed viability was low, at 30%. This species is generally difficult to germinate, it has morpho-physiological dormancy and complex germination requirements. This species is considered a fire responsive species.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
34,500 (25.8 g)
34,500 (25.8 g)
50+13-Nov-2006DJD661
Kangaroo Island
1-Aug-200730%-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.