Plants of
South Australia
Nitraria billardierei
Zygophyllaceae
Nitrebush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
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: 7.

Etymology

Nitraria, from the Latin 'nitrum', meaning native soda and the Greek 'nitron', meaning soda sources, referring to plants first found on the saline plains of Siberia. Billardierei ,named after Jacques Julien de La Billardiere (1755-1834), a French botanist who visited Western Australia and Tasmania with the D'Entrecasteaux expedition and named many new plant species.

Distribution and status

Found across much of South Australia, except the northwest and lower Southeast, growing on saline or over-grazed plain and floodplain areas, on loamy or clayey soils. Also found in all mainly States. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in the Northern Territory and Queensland (maybe introduced). Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Rigid spreading shrub to 2 m high. Leaves to 4 cm long, oblanceolate to narrow-oblanceolate, glaucous or green, fleshy and covered with dense appressed hairs. Flowers small, white, borne in small clusters along the branches, to 4 mm long. Flowering between September and November. Fruits are deep red or golden, ovoid berries to 2 cm long. Seeds are orange-brown cone-shaped and woody to 10 mm long, covered in pits and grooves. Seed embryo type is spatulate, fully-developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and April. Collect maturing fruits that are turning golden, red or darker and contain a hard seed. Place the berries in a bucket of water and rub the flesh off with your hands. Drain the water and wash again if required to remove all the flesh. Then spread the wet seeds on some paper towel and leave to dry. 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 high. Each woody seed contains a number of embryos. This species have physical and physiological dormancies that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate.

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
5,000 (396 g)
5,000 (396 g)
28+3-Feb-2005DJD108
South Eastern
28-Mar-200695%-18°C
BGA6,200 (390.1 g)3027-Feb-2013DJD2669
Murray
24-Mar-201596%-18°C
BGA2,200 (191.81 g)1-Sep-2019D.Clarke
Southern Lofty
24-Jun-2020 -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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