Murray Mallee, SA


Natural populations

Rhagodia parabolica is found in drier areas of south-east Queensland, north-eastern New South Wales, southern Victoria, southern South Australia and central Australia, growing principally on rocky hillsides and creek banks [42]. It grows in sands, sandy loams and clay loams. In Victoria, the species is confined to a few steep rocky slopes and broad ridges between Sunbury and Geelong but locally rather common [16]. It is tolerant of slight to moderately saline conditions.

Flowering and seeds

The main season for flowering and fruiting is in spring – summer, although they can be found on the plants throughout the year. The common name is fragrant saltbush, referring to the flowers, not the foliage which is usually malodorous [16]. Seed germinates easily with no pre-treatment.

Cultivation and uses

A valuable food and habitat source for wildlife, plants may provide some forage for livestock.

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 200-850 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 10-23 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 23-37 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 1-10 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Altitude: 10-900 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Fire: killed by damaging fire does not regenerate foliage or regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Wind: tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm)
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Salinity: moderate (-8 dS m-1) (?)
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub less than 2 m tall
Longevity: short-lived less than 15 years
Growth rate: moderate
Root system: shallow and spreading
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: killed by severe fires (seeder)
Foliage: highly susceptible to browsing by animals


[16] Walsh NG, Entwisle TJ (1994 - 1999) Flora of Victoria. Volume 2 - 4, Inkata Press, Melbourne.

[42] Flora of Australia (1982 to 2007) Volumes 2 to 47, CSIRO Publishing and the Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.

Internet links

PlantNet NSW Flora Online – species description & distribution:

North Australian land manager:


South Australia Flora Online – species description & distribution: