Plants of
South Australia
Daviesia arenaria
Leguminosae
Sandhill Bitter-pea
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

Etymology

Daviesia named after the Rev. Hugh Davies (1739-1821), a Welsh botanist and an Anglican clergyman. Arenaria from the Latin 'arena' meaning sand, referring to the species' sandy habitat.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern part of South Australia growing in mallee scrublands and open-forests, usually on deep sand or skeletal soils. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in New South Wales. Common in Victoria.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
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

Low-spreading shrub to 1.5 m high with numerous, divaricate, rigid and spiny branchlets, stiffly pubescent, rarely glabrous. Phyllodes sessile, articulate, broad-ovate and cordate, occasionally narrow- to broad-elliptic and attenuate basally, or rarely obovate, cuspidate, pungent-pointed, rigid, to 10 mm long and 8 mm wide, stiffly pubescent, folded upwards, lower surface with thickened marginal nerves and midrib. Inflorescence 1, rarely 2 per leaf axil with orange-pink, maroon and yellow pea-flowers. Flowering between August and October. Fruits are pale brown asymmetrically triangular pod to 7 mm long and 4 mm wide with one seed inside, beaked with the persistent style. Seeds are orange-brown with black mottled reniform seed to 4 mm long and 2 mm wide, and a cream aril. Seed embryo type is bent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and January. Collect maturing brown seed pods from the plant using secateurs or by hand. Plant is prickly so it is advisable to wear gloves. Leave the pods in a paper bag to dry for at least a week. Rub the pods gently with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the seeds from unwanted material. Store the dried fruit heads 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
BGA445 (4.16 g)714-Dec-2005DJD323
Southern Lofty
7-Aug-2006100%-18°C
BGA1,320 (9.28 g)816-Dec-2008DJD1427
Kangaroo Island
20-Jul-2009100%-18°C
BGA2,800 (11.2 g)818-Oct-2011DJD2286
Murray
1-Nov-201298%-18°C
BGA4,700 (22.26 g)15-Feb-2016M.Johns
Murray
30-Jun-201890%-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.