Plants of
South Australia
Lawrencia spicata
Malvaceae
Salt Lawrencia
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
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Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.

Etymology

Lawrencia, named after Robert Williams Lawrence (1807-33), an English-born botanist and plant collector in Tasmania. Spicata, from the Latin 'spica', meaning a spike, referring to its erect spike-like habit.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern part of South Australia growing mainly along the coast in salt-marsh communities and in saline depressions and around salt lakes. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Common in South Australia. Very rare in New South Wales. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Slender, erect, glabrous, fleshy herb to 120 cm high with 1 to few stems; often purplish towards the base. Leaves bright yellow-green; flat and stiff, the lower initially forming a rosette; ovate or oblong, to 7 cm long, on a long stalk; margin serrated. Upper leaves narrower, on a shorter stalk. Inflorescence an erect spike occupying one-third of the stem, with bisexual greenish or yellowish flowers. Flowering between October and February. Fruits are glabrous trigonous-ovoid fruit to 3 mm long, consisting of a number of seed segments with a pointed apex. Seeds are dark brown to black, wedge-shaped seed to 2 mm long and 1 mm wide, with a pointy apex. Seed embryo type is folded.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and April. Collect mature fruits; those that are turning a brown colour and with the segments containing dark hard seeds. Place the fruits in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks, then rub the fruits gently by hand to separate the seed segments. 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 75% 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:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
9,500 (17.8 g)
9,500 (17.8 g)
4010-Apr-2006DJD450
South Eastern
7-Aug-200675%-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.