Plants of
South Australia
Parietaria cardiostegia
Mallee Pellitory,
Mallee Smooth-nettle
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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: 2

Common names

Mallee Pellitory

Mallee Smooth-nettle


Parietaria from the Latin 'paries' meaning a wall, referring to some species growing on old walls. The name was used by the Roman naturalist and philosopher Pliny. Cardiostegia from the Greek 'kardio' meaning a heart and 'stege' meaning shelter, referring to heart-shaped leaf-like bracts below the flower groups.

Distribution and status

Found scattered across South Australia except in the far west and South-east, growing in shaded habitats in shallow sandy soil. Also found in all States except in Queensland. Native. Common in South Australia. rare in Victoria. Uncommon in the Northern territory. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Annual herb to 60 cm high, not woody at base; stems usually erect, not rooting at the nodes; brown to red; densely covered in curved hairs and scattered glandular and flexuose hairs. Leaf blade narrowly ovate to ovate, to 3 cm long and 21 mm wide; 3-nerved, base truncate or broadly cuneate or subcordate, apex broadly acuminate or blunt. Inflorescence in clusters at the base of the leaves with small (3 mm) green flowers. Lower clusters mostly female flowers, upper clusters with mixed male, female, and bisexual flowers. Flowering between June and November. Fruits are long brown capsule in axis of leaves with one seed. Seeds are shiny dark brown to black ovoid to ellipsoid seed to 1.3 mm long and 0.7 mm wide.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and January. Collect capsules that are turning brown by break off stems with numerous mature capsules. Place the plant material in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. Then rub the plant with a rubber bung to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate any 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.