Plants of
South Australia
Exocarpos sparteus
Santalaceae
Broom Ballart
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
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Vulnerable
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 10.

Etymology

Exocarpos from the Greek 'exo' meaning outside and 'caryon' meaning nut, referring to the succulent pedicel resembles a pericarp below the nut. Sparteus means resembling the genus Spartium or weaver's broom.

Distribution and status

Found in the north-west and southern parts of South Australia, growing in mallee communities on sandy soils. Also found in all mainland States. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Shrub or small tree to 6 m high with pendulous branches. Leaves reduced to linear-lanceolate long scales to 7 mm long. Flowers sessile in pedunculate spikes 4-18 mm long, yellow-green. Flowers mainly during spring and autumn. Fruits are fruit consists of two parts; fleshy bright red pedical (top part) and orange to red-brown ovoid to globular nut (bottom part). Seeds are woody brown globular seed to 5 mm long and 4 mm wide, with a fleshy red aril at one end. Seed embryo type is linear underdeveloped.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and May. Collect maturing fruits, the top aril is large, succulent, pink or red and bottom bit is hard and orange to brown. Leave fruits to dry and harden before storing. Fleshy aril can be removed but it can be stored with the seed. 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. Predation of seeds can be high, however, seed viability is also high. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 90%. This species is generally difficult to germinate, it has morphophysiological dormancy and complex germination requirements.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
3,300 (178.5 g)
3,300 (178.5 g)
100+18-Jan-2005DJD90
South Eastern
28-Mar-200690%-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.
Germination table:
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