Plants of
South Australia
Lysiandra calycina
Snowdrop Spurge
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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: 2

Prior names

Phyllanthus calycinus

Common names

Snowdrop Spurge


Phyllanthus from the Greek 'phyllon' meaning a leaf and 'anthos' meaning a flower, referring to some foreign species where the flowers grow on the edges of dilated leaf-like branchlets. Calycinus means having a persistent (or conspicuous) calyx.

Distribution and status

Found on Eyre Peninsula, tip of Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and southern Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, growing on sandy soil. Also found in Western Australia. Native. Rare in South Australia. Common in Western Australia.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect glabrous shrub to 50 cm tall, with many branches arising from the base. Leaves inserted spirally on short but distinct stalk; oblong-cuneate, to 15 mm long and 7 mm wide; mucronulate, flat, green-glaucous. Flowers on slender stalk, female flowers solitary, with or without 2 or 3 males in the same axils. Male perianth-segments 6 rarely 5, petal-like;, ovate, pink, bordered with whit; anthers and filaments free; cells dehiscing lengthwise. Female perianth larger than in the males; segments broadly ovate, almost concealing the capsule; styles free or very shortly united at the base. Flowering between May and October. Fruits are green globular capsule to 5 mm diameter. Seeds are brown sectoroid seed to 3 mm long and 2.2 mm wide; smooth, longitudinally striated with darker lines. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and December. Collect individually or break off short fruiting stems with fat, brown capsules with hard dark seed. Slightly green capsules can be collected if the seeds are dark and hard. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then gently rub the capsules with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieves 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 viability can be variable and seeds. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 85%.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA3,600 (14.45 g)2511-Nov-2009TST802
Yorke Peninsula
1-Jun-201085%+5°C, -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.