Plants of
South Australia
Caesia calliantha
Liliaceae
Blue Grass-lily
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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: 5.

Etymology

Caesia named after Federico Cesi (1585-1630), an Italian naturalist who is said to have been the first to discover the spores of ferns and whose name was Latinised as Caesius. Calliantha from the Greek 'callos' meaning beauty and 'anthos' meaning flower.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern part of South Australia from the southern Flinders Ranges to the lower South-east growing in grassy understorey of sclerophyll forest on damp sandy or clay soil. Also found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tufted, glabrous herbaceous perennial lily with long grass-like leaves to 50 cm long and 15 mm wide; sheath often papery. Flowers lilac-blue to deep-blue along a long spike. Flowering between August and October. Fruits are pale brown 3-lobedcapsule to 8 mm in diameter. Seeds are globular black seeds 2 mm in diameter with fine irregular low tubercles. Seed embryo type is linear fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and December. Collect mature capsules, those that are turning a pale straw colour and contain black seeds. Can collect individual capsules or break off the whole spike. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the capsules gently by hand 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 average, at 65%. High germination rates after 4 weeks cold stratification at 5C and sown April (pers. comm. Shaun Kennedy - SA Water) - see seedling images on Sosa webpage.

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
3,900 (8.08 g)
3,900 (8.08 g)
100+19-Oct-2005DJD148
Murray
9-Aug-200665%-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.