Native vegetation germination guide


Learning how to identify a recently germinated native seedling from a weed seedling can be tricky.

The following germination guide aims to help people identify native plant germination following direct seeding or natural regeneration.

Identifying Germinated Native Vegetation

The first pair of leaves that appear on germination are the “seed leaves” or cotyledons. These will often be quite different in appearance to subsequent “true leaves”.

Germination diagrams of some typical native vegetation families used in direct seeding are shown below. Where possible, photos of juvenile species are also included to assist with identifying recently germinated native vegetation.

Germination Guide. Source: N.Bonney

Photo examples of recently germinated wattle (Acacia sps)

Note: All acacias germinate with bipinnate cotyledon leaves (i.e. feathery or fern-like leaves) and to confirm species you need to wait until the second set of leaves or the “true leaves” have developed.

Acacia seedlings

Clockwise from top left: Grey Wattle (Acacia brachybotrya), Grey Wattle (Acacia brachybotrya), Western Black Wattle (Acacia hakeoides), Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata), Streaked Wattle (Acacia lineata), Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), Kangaroo Thorn (Acacia paradoxa), Deane’s Wattle (Acacia deaneii).

Photo examples of recently germinated Punty bush/ Cassia (Senna artemisoides)

Recently germinated Punty Bush (Senna artemisoides) Punty Bush (Senna artemisoides) seedling

Photo examples of recently germinated Wedge-leaf Hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa cuneata)

Recently germinated Wedge-leaf Hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa cuneata) Wedge-leaf Hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa cuneata)

Photo examples of recently germinated White Cypress Pine (Callitris glaucophylla)

Recently germinated White Cypress Pine (Callitris glaucophylla) White Cypress Pine (Callitris glaucophylla) seedling

Germination Time

Depending on soil moisture, temperature conditions, and light availability, native seeds can germinate within a few weeks to 3 months or even longer.

There are several instances of direct-seeded sites within the Murray region where seeds have remained dormant for up to nine years until seasonal and soil conditions improved, prompting a germination event.

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