Plants of
South Australia
Caesia parviflora var. parviflora
Pale Grass Lily
Display all 16 images

Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.


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. Parviflora from the Latin 'parvus' meaning small and 'floris' meaning flower.

Distribution and status

Found in a very small area in the lower South-east in South Australia in damp open grassy areas in swamp and forest. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Very rare in South Australia. Uncommon in Victoria and Tasmania. Common in the other States.
Herbarium region: South Eastern
NRM region: South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tufted, glabrous herbaceous perennial lily to 20 cm high, with long grass-like leaves and a branching rhizome. Primary inflorescence branches ascending with white to blue flowers with darker transverse veins. Fruits are pale brown 3-lobed capsules. Seeds are globular black seed to 2 mm diameter with a tuberculate surface, some much longer. Seed embryo type is linear fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and February. Collect mature capsules 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 two collections, the seed viability was average to high, ranging from 40% to 80%.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA710 (1.42 g)50+14-Dec-2007TST264
South Eastern
BGA2,700 (6.32 g)100+10-Dec-2009MJT266
South Eastern
BGA700 (1.4 g)50+22-Dec-2010MJT345
South Eastern
BGA1,090 (2.62 g)100+22-Dec-2010DJD2094
South Eastern
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.