Plants of
South Australia
Cullen australasicum
Leguminosae
Native Scurf-pea
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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 paintings: 4.

Etymology

Cullen named after William Cullen (1710-1790), a Scottish physician and chemist who lectured at the University of Glasgow on botany, among other things. Australasicum means of or from Australasia, New Zealand.

Distribution and status

Found across South Australia except on Kangaroo Island, the south-east, Eyre Peninsula and the Nullarbor growing on heavy soils, sandy loam near creeks and floodplains. Also found in all mainland States. Native. Common in South Australia. Very rare in Victoria. Rare in Western Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect or ascending, much-branched shrub to 2.5 m tall with pubescent stems, glabrescent with age; striate, dotted with glands. Leaves pinnately tri-foliate to 12 cm long. Leaflets ovate to lanceolate, to 5 cm long and 30 mm wide; upper surface glabrous to sparsely hairy; lower surface pubescent, both surfaces dotted with glands; apices obtuse, mucronate, margins irregularly toothed. Flower spike terminal with pink to violet-pink pea-flowers, persistent in fruit. Flowers all year round, depending on rainfall. Fruits are black ovoid pod to 4.5 mm long; hairy with one seed inside. Seeds are brown bean-shaped seed to 3 mm long and 2 mm wide, covered in long hairs. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect maturing pods, those that are fat, turning black and contain a brown seed inside, by running your hands along the fruit-spikes. Place the pods in a tray and leave to dry for 1 to 2 weeks or until the pods begin to split. Then rub the dried pods to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any 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 two collections, the seed viability was high, at 100%. 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
9,100 (50 g)
9,100 (50 g)
50+13-Dec-2004DJD83
Southern Lofty
28-Mar-2006100%-18°C
BGA4,400 (22.19 g)203-Jan-2008TST313
Southern Lofty
19-Sep-2008100%-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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