Plants of
South Australia
Mentha australis
Labiatae
River Mint
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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
Yunta
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Mentha, a Latin name of a Greek nymph who was turned into a mint plant. Australis, means of, or from the south, or refers to Australia.

Distribution and status

Found in the eastern side of South Australia, south to the Murray River, growing on clay-rich soils, particularly near rivers and creeks, or in clay depressions in the floodplains of the River Murray. Also found in all States except in Western Australia. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in the Northern Territory and Tasmania. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Murray, Southern Lofty
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Soft perennial herb, often sprawling, sometimes erect. Leaves ovate, often angular-ovate or lanceolate and paired; to 20 mm long and 12 mm wide; glabrous or with short hairs. Inflorescence in dense clusters, with 3-12 tubular, white or pink flowers in the leaf axils. Flowering between November and February. Fruits are dense clusters of papery brown capsules. Seeds are dark brown to black ovoid seed to 1 mm long and 0.7 mm wide. Seed embryo type is spatulate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and April. Collect individual capsules that are turning brown and contain hard seeds, or break off whole stems with numerous brown capsules. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for a week. Then rub the capsules gently with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds from the capsules. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Some seeds will be empty. Use an aspirator to siphon off the lighter, non-viable seeds from the heavier good 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. From two collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 80% to 85%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA910 (0.13 g)24-Feb-2009TST717
Southern Lofty
20-Jul-200980%-18°C
BGA12,000 (1.61 g)50+8-Dec-2013DJD2660
Murray
27-Feb-201485%-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.
Germination table:
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