Plants of
South Australia
Crotalaria eremaea ssp. eremaea
Leguminosae
Bluebush Pea
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
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Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 6.

Etymology

Crotalaria from the Greek 'crotalon' meaning a rattle, castanet, referring to the sound the dried seed pods make when shaken. Eremaea from the Greek 'eremaios' a poetic word for solitary, referring to the flowers being terminal on shoots.

Distribution and status

Found in the north-east corner of South Australia growing in sandy soil. Also found Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Soft wooded shrubs to 1 m high; densely grey-tomentose. Leaflets commonly oblong, 1 or often 3, the laterals if present reduced and sometimes very small or, if approaching the terminal in shape, very rarely more than half its length; all rather thin, not obviously wrinkled on drying; densely to sparsely pubescent but always with some hairs on the upper surface, the hairs appressed to spreading and usually denser below than above. Flowers loosely spaced in terminal racemes with yellow pea-flowers. Flowering mainly between August and September. This subspecies differs from Crotalaria eremaea ssp. strehlowii by being hairy. Fruits are pale brown narrow-obovate pod to 30 mm long and 7 mm. Seeds are orange renform seed to 6 mm long and 3 mm wide with a smooth surface. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and November. Collect mature pods, those that are fat, turning brown and contain hard seeds. Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then use a rubber bung to rub the pods or break the pods open with your fingers to dislodge the seeds. 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 high, at 95%. This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).

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 (48.8 g)
1,950 (48 g)
100+1-Oct-2007MJT136
Lake Eyre
19-Sep-200895%-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.