Plants of
South Australia
Calytrix smeatoniana
Myrtaceae
Kangaroo Island Heath-myrtle
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
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Extinct
Data deficient
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.

Etymology

Calytrix from the Greek 'kalyx' meaning calyx and 'thrix' meaning hair, referring to the awns on the sepals. Smeatoniana named after Thomas Drury Smeaton (1832-1908), born in London and migrated to Australia as a bank clerk and plant collector.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found in the western half of Kangaroo Island, grows on the margins of minor creeks and tributaries. Native. Rare in South Australia.
Herbarium region: Kangaroo Island
NRM region: Kangaroo Island
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small erect perennial shrub to 1 m high, covered in minute spreading hairs. Leaves linear, to 3 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, covered with hairs. Inflorescence in small clusters of pinkish white flowers with pink centre. Flowering between September and December. Fruits are brown squarish fruit to 4 mm long and 3 mm wide, covered in hairs. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and January. Collect heads by hand when they are brown and slightly fat at the base. This should contain small hard seed. No cleaning is required if only the fruits were collected. If collected with other material, 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. Seed set and seed viability can be low. Seed viability is low for this species.

Fire response

Obligate re-seeder; seedlings observed in proximity of burnt parent plants within fire scar. No re-sprouting observed.

Longevity: >20 years

Time to first flowering: 4-5 years.

Recovery work

In 2020 this species was assessed in the first year post-fire at a few populations in Flinders Chase NP. A total of 1,200 seeds were collected from one population in unburnt refugia in 2020. Germination screening testing the response to fire cues will be undertaken in 2021.The project  work is supported by the Australian Government through the Wildlife & Habitat Bushfire Recovery program.

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
45,700 (27.6 g)
45,700 (27.6 g)
100+13-Dec-2006DJD675
Kangaroo Island
1-Aug-200740%-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.