Plants of
South Australia
Luzula ovata
Juncaceae
Oval Wood-rush
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Luzula, possibly from the Italian 'luzziola', meaning sparkle or a fire-fly, or from the Latin 'luxulae, 'meaning light, probably alluding to the sparkling and quivering character of the heads when wet with dew. Ovata, from the Latin 'ovatus', meaning ovate, referring to its single ovate heads.

Distribution and status

Found in the Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower South-east in South Australia, growing in swampy areas. Also found in New South Wales and possible Victoria (which treated this species as reduced forms of Luzula densiflora). Native. Rare in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Murray, Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small perennial sedge with slender tufts; slightly bulbous at base with bright green leaves, later becoming reddish. Leaves to 4 mm wide, much shorter than the flowering stems; flaccid, flat, with moderately to densely hairy margins; tips obtuse. Inflorescence a single ovate congested cluster with many dark red-brown flowers at the end of a long erect stalk. Flowering between September and December. Fruits are dense clusters of smooth deep-purple-red capsules. Seeds are black ellipsoid seed to 1.2 mm long and 0.9 mm wide, with a large white fleshy appendage at one end. Seed embryo type is broad.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and January. Collect fruits either by picking off the mature heads, those turning deep red and come-off easily or break-off the whole spikes. Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the heads with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Be careful, as the seeds are very small. Seeds are brown and hard. 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 two collections, the seed viability was 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
2,000 (2.07 g)
2,000 (2.07 g)
2022-Dec-2004MKJ59
Southern Lofty
28-Mar-2006100%-18°C
BGA10,000 (3.17 g)2031-Oct-2007RJB75420
South Eastern
19-Sep-2008100%+5°C, -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.