Plants of
South Australia
Euphrasia collina ssp. osbornii
Osborn's Eyebright
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1

Prior names

Euphrasia brownii, nom.illeg., partly

Euphrasia collina, partly

Euphrasia osbornii, 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. Osbornii named after Professor Theodore George Bentley Osborn (1887-1973), an English-born botanist, ecologist and first professor of Botany, vegetable pathology and Parasitology at the University of Adelaide.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found on Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Mount Lofty Ranges and in upper South-east growing in sclerophyllous woodland, sometimes in sclerophyllous forest, with one population in swamp. Native. Endangered in South Australia. The SA Seed Bank banked 40,000 seeds from a small population in the Moppa area in 2017, with the support of the AMLR NRM.
Herbarium regions: Northern Lofty, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial herb. Upper leaves and lowest bracts on main branches to 12 mm long and 9 mm wide, covered by glandular hairs, sometimes mixed with scabrous eglandular hairs, with 1-8 usually 3-6 pairs of teeth. Calyx to 7.5 mm long, externally glandular-hairy; corolla usually to 17.5 mm long along the upper side; white to pink or lavender, paler inside, sometimes with a yellow blotch behind the lowest lobe; externally pubescent over all but the tips of the lobes, the lower lobes usually emarginate; sometimes truncate or obtuse; anther cells to 2.2 mm long excluding the awns, the rear awns to 0.4 mm long. Flowering between August and December. This subspecies is distinguished from the other five subspecies found in South Australia by having the external surface of calyx pubescent, upper leaves on main branches with 1-8 usually 3-6 pairs of teeth and the bristle-like hairs on capsules. Fruits are brown capsule to 8 mm long, bristly hairs often almost to the base, along an erect spike. Seeds are whitish brown oblong seed to 0.9 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, surface strongly reticulated and striated. Seed embryo type is spatulate.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and January. 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. From five collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 85% to 100%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
85,000 (2.79 g)
85,000 (2.79 g)
Northern Lofty
28-Mar-200695%+5°C, -18°C
BGA6,700 (0.54 g)2013-Dec-2003PJA8
Kangaroo Island
14-Aug-2006 +5°C, -18°C
17,985 (1 g)
17,985 (1 g)
Kangaroo Island
14-Aug-2006 +5°C, -18°C
10,500 (3.3 g)
10,500 (3.3 g)
Yorke Peninsula
1-Aug-200795%+5°C, -18°C
BGA163,000 (5.32 g)100+27-Nov-2008DJD1355
Southern Lofty
BGA16,000 (1.05 g)50+8-Dec-2010JQ111
Southern Lofty
BGA8,700 (0.48 g)15+5-Dec-2011KHB624
Southern Lofty
BGA124,000 (4.09 g)240+25-Nov-2013KHB822
Northern Lofty
24-Mar-201585%+5°C, -18°C
BGA47,000 (1.79 g)19-Oct-2010JQ110
Southern Lofty
2-May-201770%+5°C, -18°C, -80°C
BGA40,000 (1.75 g)1-Dec-2016Adrian Shackley
Northern Lofty
1-Nov-201795%+5°C, -18°C, -80°C
BGA57,000 (4.61 g)50+6-Nov-2018DJD3810
Southern Lofty
24-Apr-2019100%-18°C, -80°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: