Plants of
South Australia
Euphrasia collina ssp. collina
Purple Eyebright
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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

Prior names

Euphrasia brownii, nom.illeg.


Euphrasia from the Greek goddess Euphrosyne, one of the Three Fates, whose name means gladness or to delight, alluding to the attractive flowers or even, it is suggested, the application of the juice from some European species that was supposed to brighten the eyes, whence its common name, 'eyebright'. Collina from the Latin 'collinus' meaning dwelling on hills, alluding to the species' habitat.

Distribution and status

Found in the lower South-east in South Australia, growing on sand to clay, mainly in sclerophyllous forest, woodland, heath and swampy sites. Also found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Very rare in South Australia. Uncommon in New South wales. Common in the other States.
Herbarium region: South Eastern
NRM region: South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial herb or undershrub to 80 cm tall, with branches developing well above ground-level. Upper leaves and lowest bracts on main branches to 16.5 mm and 4.4 mm wide; lacking hairs, with 0-2 usually 1 pair of teeth. Calyx to 7 mm long, externally glabrous; corolla to 14.5 mm long along the upper side; white to pink or violet, sometimes paler inside and often with a yellow blotch behind the lowest lobe.Tthe external pubescence extends at least on to the base of the lower lip; the lower lobes usually emarginate to truncate, rarely obtuse. Flowering between November and December. This subspecies is distinguished from the other five subspecies found in South Australia by having external surface of calyx glabrous and upper leaves on main branches narrow, with 0-2, usually 1 pair of teeth. Fruits are brown capsule to 10.5 mm long, glabrous, along erect spike. Seeds are pale yellow brown seed to 1.2 mm long and 1 mm wide, surface strongly reticulated and striated. Seed embryo type is spatulate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and February. Collect mature capsules, those that are turning a pale straw colour, contain pale seeds and not yet split. Can collect individual capsules or break off the whole fruit spike. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. Then rub the capsules gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Be careful as the seeds are very small. 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. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA6,400 (0.55 g)100+16-Dec-2012DJD2622
South Eastern
1-Jan-201680%-18°C, -80°C
BGA46,000 (4.76 g)100+15-Nov-2017DJD3688
South Eastern
30-Jun-201895%-18°C, -80°C
BGA4,700 (0.66 g)20+11-Dec-2018JRG703
South Eastern
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: