Plants of
South Australia
Thryptomene ericaea
Myrtaceae
Mat Heath-myrtle
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
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Oodnadatta
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Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.

Etymology

Thryptomene from Greek meaning broken, diminished or made small, probably referring to the small flowers or the small stature of most of the species. Ericaea from the Greek 'ereike' meaning heath, possibly referring to it being heath-like.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found mainly on Kangaroo Island, with a few old records from the southern Eyre Peninsula, growing on well-drained soils over laterite or limestone in mallee shrubland. Native. Common in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island
NRM regions: Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Low bushy shrub to 1.2 m high and usually wider. Leaves narrowly elliptical-acute, to 6 mm long and 1 mm wide, margins entire. Inflorescence in axils below summit of branchlets, with white flowers sometimes with pink tinges. Flowering between September and December. Fruits are brown tubular fruit to 4 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, with deep lateral striation and bearing persistent sepals. Seeds are a small ovoid seed sits in the broad section of the fruit. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and February. Collect heads by hand when they are brown and slightly plump at the base. Break off whole spike as not all heads will have viable fruit/seed. Place the heads in a tray and leave to dry for a week. Then gently rub the heads to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any 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.