Plants of
South Australia
Acaena novae-zelandiae
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.


Acaena from the Greek 'acaina' meaning a thorn, referring to the genus prickly fruit. Novae-zelandiae means of or from New Zealand, referring to where the type specimen was first collected or the assumption that the species is restricted to New Zealand.

Distribution and status

Found along the coast of South Australia on the tip of Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, Kangaroo Island, Mount Lofty Ranges and in the South-east, growing in moist areas. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand. Introduced to Western Australia. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States. Naturalised in Western Australia.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Procumbent stoloniferous perennial herb. Leaves ovate with 3 or 4 pairs of leaflets, usually to 9 cm long (including petiole), glabrous or variously hairy especially below. Flowers in globular heads on long terminal stalk with creamy-white stamens. Flowering between September and December. Fruits are globular head to 15 mm across consisting of numerous seeds. Seeds are hairy woody triangular seed with 4 slender glabrous, subequal spines to 10 mm long.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and February. Pick seeds that are turning brown. You can either pick whole fruit heads which will have numerous seeds or collect individual brown seeds. Be careful when collecting, as the seeds are spiny. Place the fruit heads in a tray and leave to dry for 1 to 2 weeks. If the collection consist of mainly individual seeds, then 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. If collected with other material, then rub the dried flower heads with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any unwanted material. Seed viability is usually high. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Germination table: