Plants of
South Australia
Glycine rubiginosa
Twining Glycine
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 5.


Glycine from the Greek 'glykys', meaning sweet, referring to the sweet roots and leaves of some species of the Glycine (soybean) genus. Rubiginosa from the Latin 'rubiginosus', meaning rusty-red, alluding to the calyx hairs.

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the central part of South Australia, with scattered occurrences in west; growing in grasslands and grassy woodlands. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Rare in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial twining herb with non-stoloniferous stems covered in white to rusty hairs. Leaves digitately 3-foliate; leaflets sessile or subsessile; commonly oblong-lanceolate, but occasionally elliptic to broadly elliptic or linear, to 40 mm long and 10 mm wide; apex acuminate; upper surface glabrous; lower surface with sparse, appressed white to rusty hairs. Inflorescence a raceme to 12 cm long, with mauve to purple pea-flowers; calyx moderately to densely hairy, with dark brown hairs. Flowering between July and November. Fruits are brown linear to short-oblong pod to 30 mm long and 4 mm wide; margins slightly thickened, covered in white or rusty hairs. Seeds are smooth, olive-black with dark stripes to a dark brownish-red, ovoid to sub-orbicular seed to 2.5 mm and 1.5 mm wide. Seed embryo type is bent

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and December. The pods of this pea change colour from pale green to a dark brown when mature. The seed pods twist and burst apart expelling the seeds when fully ripe so timing of seed collections is important. Monitor fruits closely, bag maturing fruits or place groundsheets under plants to catch seeds . Alternatively, the pods can be harvested close to maturity (when they turn brown) and fully dried in a warm area. Place the pods in a tray and cover with paper to prevent seeds popping out and leave to dry for a week. 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. This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat). Germination 100%, seed scarified (chipped with scalpel), on 1% w/v agar, 8/16 dark/light, 15C/30C. See

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage

2,500 (11.33 g)
BGA2,100 (8.1 g)50+2-Dec-2010Kanmantoo
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: