Plants of
South Australia
Polygala glaucifolia
Hairy Mat Milkwort
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Polygala from the Latin form of Greek 'polys' meaning much and 'gala' meaning milk; referring to a belief that animals eating some plants in the genus produced more milk. Glaucifolia from the Latin 'glaucus' meaning bluish and 'folium' meaning leaves; referring to the blue-grey colour of the leaves.

Distribution and status

Found in the far north and north-western parts of South Australia, growing in a variety of habitats including gravelly or rocky slopes, foot hills drainage lines and flats on loam, sandy loam or clay soils. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Rare in Queensland. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Decumbent annual herb to 11 cm high and spreading to 20 cm wide, covered in soft hairs. Leaves obovate to oblanceolate, to 21 mm long and 14 mm wide. Inflorescence spikes to 11 mm long in leaf axils with small light blue to purple pea-liked flowers. Flowering possible throughout the year depending on rain. Fruits are pale brown ovoid capsule to 5.5 mm long and 4 mm wide. Seeds are dark brown ovoid seed to 4 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, covered in long hairs and two long creamy arils at the narrow end. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect capsules that are turning brown with dark seeds inside. Seeds can also be collected from the ground under the plants. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for a week. Then gently rub the pods by hand to dislodge the seeds. 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 two collections, the seed viability was average to high, ranging from 75% to 100%.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
1,500 (3.14 g)
1,500 (3.14 g)
Lake Eyre
BGA7,500 (22.31 g)50+2-Sep-2015DJD3155
Lake Eyre
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: