Plants of
South Australia
Lawrencia squamata
Malvaceae
Thorny Lawrencia
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
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Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
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Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 8.

Etymology

Lawrencia, named after Robert Williams Lawrence (1807-33), an English-born botanist and plant collector in Tasmania. Squamata, from Latin 'squama', meaning scale, referring to the minute peltate scales on the leaf surfaces, giving the plant a greyish appearance.

Distribution and status

Found across South Australia growing on clay soils, often gypsum-rich; fringing salt lakes, saline depressions, tidal flats and coastal inlets. Found in all mainland States. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Low rigid, spinescent dioecious shrub to 60 cm high. Leaves fleshy but sometimes channelled above; stalk-less, linear to narrow-obovate, to 10 mm long; entire or with a few apical teeth; surfaces appearing greyish from a layer of minute fringed peltate scales. Inflorescence solitary, axillary with unisexual flowers. Male flowers with calyx hemispherical with 5 very short, rounded lobes and white or yellow, sometimes reddish-tinged petals. Female flowers with calyx sub-cylindrical, barely exceeded by petals. Flowering between May and November. Fruits are red glabrous ovoid fruit to 3 mm long; consisting of a number of segments, with only one maturing and producing a seed. Seeds are yellow-brown ovoid seed to 2 mm long and 2 mm wide. Seed embryo type is folded.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and January. Collect mature fruits; those that are fat and reddish in colour and with the segment containing dark hard seeds. Place the fruits in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the fruits with a rubber bung to separate the seed. 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 high, at 90%. 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
BGA 
MSB
13,900 (31.29 g)
13,900 (31.29 g)
30+11-Dec-2007DJD995
Murray
19-Sep-200890%-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.