Plants of
South Australia
Choretrum spicatum ssp. continentale
Spiked Sour-bush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.


Choretrum from the Greek 'choris' meaning separate and 'etron' meaning abdomen, referring to a rim that separates the top of the flower stalk from the flower itself. Spicatum from the Latin 'spica' meaning a spike, alluding to the flowers forming along a spike. Continentale from the Latin 'continentalis ' meaning mainland or continent, referring to this subspecies being restricted to mainland Australia.

Distribution and status

Found in the upper South-east in South Australia from Keith to Francis growing in sand (including sand dunes), sand over clay and sandy loam, in heath or open eucalypt woodland, frequently in low-lying sites and swamps. Also found in Victoria. Native. Rare in South Australia. Rare in Victoria.
Herbarium region: South Eastern
NRM region: South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

A weeping semi-parastic perennial, green shrub to 1.5 m high with soft flexible branches; terete, longitudinally ridged. Leaves persistent, scale-like, sessile; appressed to ascending, slightly incurved or on older leaves, spreading to recurved, triangular to very-narrowly triangular to 2 mm long and 0.6 mm wide. Inflorescence of single peduncle bearing many flowers. Flowers white, occasionally flushed reddish-maroon. Flowering between November and January. Fruits are green-brown globose fleshy drupe to 5 mm long; longitudinally ribbed. Seeds are hard brown spherical seeds to 4 mm, with ridges running from end to end. Seed embryo type is linear underdeveloped.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and April. Collect drupes that are maturing; the skin is softens as it ripens. Either collect the drupes from the bushes or collect ripe fruits that have fallen off the plant onto the ground beneath the bushes. Place the drupes in a bucket of water and rub the flesh off with your hands. Drain the water and wash again if required, to remove all the flesh. Then spread the wet seeds on paper towel and leave to dry. 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 average to low. This species is generally difficult to germinate, it has morphophysiological dormancy and complex germination requirements.