Plants of
South Australia
Roepera eremaea
Climbing Twinleaf
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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: 4

Prior names

Zygophyllum eremaeum

Zygophyllum aurantiacum var. eremaeum

Zygophyllum fruticulosum var. eremaeum


Roepera (formally Zygophyllum which is from the Greek 'zygon' meaning pair and 'phyllon' meaning leaf; referring to the pair of leaflets making up each leaf) is named after Johannes August Christian Roeper (1801 -1885), a German botanist and physician. Eremaea from the Greek 'eremos' meaning desert and suffix 'eum' meaning belonging to; referring to the habitat of the species in semi-arid areas.

Distribution and status

Found in the northern part of South Australia, growing on calcareous sand and stony red-brown sandy loam often scrambling into taller shrubs. Also found in all mainland states. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in Queensland. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Murray
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Weak perennial (sometimes annual) subshrub to 40 cm high, sometimes scrambling or climbing for several metres. Leaves Y-shaped, succulent, green, leaflet linear to terete, to 20 mm long and 3 mm wide, continuous with petiole, spreading, apex acute. Inflorescence solitary at each node with pale lemon-yellow flowers. Flowering between July and October. Fruits are pale brown round papery capsule to 13 mm long, with 4 very thin vertical wings. Seeds are pale brown, oblong-shaped to 4.5 mm long and 2 mm wide, with fine pitted surface. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and December. Collect semi-dried and dried capsules by running your hands through the stems of the plant. Mature fruits will come off easily and will have a hard and dark seed inside each segment. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for 1 to 2 weeks, depending on how green the fruit is. Then rub the dried capsules to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to remove 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 high.