Plants of
South Australia
Ottelia ovalifolia ssp. ovalifolia
Hydrocharitaceae
Swamp Lily
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
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Etymology

Ottelia is the Latinised form of the word ottel-ambel, the Malabar (SW India) name of an Indian species. Ovalifolia means oval-shaped leaves; referring to the shape of the adult leaves..

Distribution and status

Found on Eyre Peninsula, Flinders Ranges, southern Mount Lofty, Kangaroo Island, Murrayland and the South-east in South Australia, growing in still water such as dams, lakes, billabongs and slow-moving rivers. Also found in all mainland states. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial herb with floating leaves and bisexual flowers. Juvenile leaves submerged and strap-like. Adult leaves with stalk to 120 cm long, blade elliptic to ovate, to 16 cm long, with 5-7 longitudinal nerves and numerous transverse connecting veins. Flowers solitary at the end of each stalk with two types of flowers. Chasmogamous flowers are emergent or floating with cream-white with a dark reddish-purple base flowers to 5 cm across. Cleistogamous flowers submerged on shorter stalks, unopen, with shorter perianth. Flowering between November and March. Fruits are large green fleshy capsules usually submerge below the water. Capsules becomes soft with age. Seeds are small brown elliptical see to 1.5 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, covered in long white hairs. Seed embryo type is linear fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between February and May. Collect mature capsules, those that are fat and turning brown. Some searching for developed capsules is required as they are usually under water. Place the capsules in a bucket of water then rub it with your fingers to remove the flesh. Rub and change the water a few times until all the fresh are removed. Leave the cleaned seed to dry and then store with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From two collections, the seed viability were high, at 100%.

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
46,000 (11.39 g)
46,000 (11.39 g)
4022-Feb-2005DJD118
Southern Lofty
15-Feb-2011100%-18°C
BGA57,000 (11.94 g)50+28-Mar-2011Kuitpo
Southern Lofty
1-Jan-2012100%-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.