Plants of
South Australia
Stylidium tepperianum
Kangaroo Island Trigger-plant,
Tepper's Trigger-plant
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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 painting: 1

Prior names

Candollea tepperiana

Common names

Kangaroo Island Trigger-plant

Tepper's Trigger-plant


Stylidium is a diminutive of Greek word 'stylos', meaning column; referring to the sensitive column consisting of the fused stamens and the style. Tepperianum named after Johann Gottlieb Otto Tepper (1841 - 1923) who collected the type specimen from Mount Taylor, Kangaroo Island in 1886.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found only on Kangaroo Island, growing in shallow pockets of sandy-loam on limestone pavement in mainly coastal woodland and heath habitat. Native. Rare in South Australia.
Herbarium region: Kangaroo Island
NRM region: Kangaroo Island
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tiny perennial herb to 10 cm tall when flowering, with procumbent stems and dense tufted rosettes of leaves at the nodes and reddish brown branches. Leaves sessile, slender and stiff  to 9 mm long and 1 mm wide, pointed but often wearing off, entire or with stout cilia or short serrations, convex above, with a swollen raised main vein and recurved margins below, glabrous. Flowering at terminal of a long reddish stalk with a few white to pink flowers. Flowering between November and December. Capsule narrowly conical to 7 mm long, dehiscing along almost the whole length. Seeds tiny orange to 7 mm long and 4 mm wide with a twisted and tuberculate surface.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and January. Collect mature capsules, those that are fat, hard and turning pale brown. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the capsules gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. 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 is usually very high.

Fire Response

Obligate re-seeder, only tiny seedlings noted emerging in fire scars and no re-sprouting observed.

Longevity: >20 years

Time to flowering: 4 to 5 years

Recovery Work

In 2020-2021 this species was assessed post-fire in 1 year and 2 year old fire scars. A total of 4,600 seeds have been collected & banked for a population outside the 2020 fire scar at Seal Bay region. Further populations will be assessed and seeds collected on the western side of Kangaroo Island in 2021–2022. Germination screening testing the response to fire cues will be undertaken in 2021.This project was supported by the Wildlife & Habitat Bushfire Recovery program.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
6,000 (0.31 g)
6,000 (0.31 g)
Kangaroo Island
14-Aug-2006100%+5°C, -18°C
BGA3,400 (0.194 g)50+18-Jan-2017DJD3611
Kangaroo Island
1-Nov-2017100%+5°C, -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.