Plants of
South Australia
Euphrasia collina ssp. tetragona
Coast Eyebright
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Data deficient
Coober Pedy
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 4

Prior names

Euphrasia brownii, nom.illeg., partly

Euphrasia tetragona

Common names

Coast Eyebright


Euphrasia from the Greek goddess Euphrosyne, one of the Three Fates, whose name means gladness or to delight; alluding to the attractive flowers or even, it is suggested, the application of the juice from some European species was suppose to brighten the eyes, whence its common name, 'eyebright'. Collina from the Latin 'collinus' meaning dwelling on hills; alluding to the species habitat. Tetragona from the Greek 'tetra' meaning four and 'gonos' meaning angle.

Distribution and status

Found mainly along the coast in the southern part of South Australia with an inland extension into the sandy-mallee heaths of the 90-Mile Desert, growing on sandy soil, in mallee-heaths, plains, heathland, coastal cliff-tops with underlying limestone and on coastal dunes and the swales. Native. Common in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial herb to 47 cm high. Upper leaves and lowest bracts on main branches to 14.3 mm long and 9.6 mm wide, sometimes eglandular-scabrous on the upper surface, with 0-4 usually 1 or 2 pairs of teeth. Calyx to 10 mm long, externally glabrous, corolla to 17 mm long along the upper side, white to deep-mauve or lavender, with a yellow or orange blotch behind the lowest lobe, pubescent externally except on the lobes, the lower lobes emarginate, often deeply so, anther cells to 3 mm long excluding the awns, the rear awns to 0.5 mm long. Flowering between August and February. This subspecies is distinguished from the other five subspecies found in South Australia by having external surface of calyx glabrous, lower corolla lobes externally glabrous, usually emarginate and upper leaves on main branches with 0-4 usually 1 or 2 pairs of teeth. Fruits are brown capsule to 12 mm long, glabrous or bristly hairs at the very apex, along an erect spike. Seeds are whitish yellow oblong seed to 0.8 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, surface strongly reticulated and striated Seed embryo type is spatulate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and November. Collect mature capsules, those that are turning a pale straw colour, contain pale seeds and not yet split. Can collect individual capsules or break off the whole fruit spike. A total of 73,000 seeds collected from Pennington Bay on Kangaroo Is. for the ASBP project. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. Then rub the capsules gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be careful as the seeds are very small. 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 95%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
4,500 (0.3 g)
4,500 (0.305 g)
Southern Lofty
28-Mar-200695%+5°C, -18°C
BGA73,000 (4.6 g)50+15-Dec-2015JRG254
Kangaroo Island
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.
Germination table: