Ptilotus from the Greek 'ptilotos' meaning feathered or winged; referring to the hairy flowers. Polystachyus from the Greek 'poly' meaning many and 'stachys' meaning spike; possibly referring to the species many erect flower-spikes.
Distribution and status
Found across the drier inland areas of South Australia, growing in a wide range of habitats. Also found in all mainland states. Native. Common in South Australia. Very rare in Victoria. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Southern Lofty
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)
Annual or perennial herb to 1.5 m tall. Basal leaves to 21 cm long and 36 mm wide, soon withering. Stem leaves alternating along the stem, to 10 cm long and 6 mm wide, linear to flat, hairy when young, edges wavy. Flower-spikes terminal, cylindrical and solitary with fragrant, yellow-green, sometimes reddish flowers. Flowering between May and November. Fruits are white to pale brown, cylindrical head containing numerous long papery and hairy fruits, each containing one seed. Seeds are brown reinform seed to 2 mm long and 1.2 mm wide. Seed embryo type is peripheral.
Seed collection and propagation
Collect seeds between September and December. Be very careful when collecting this species as the fruits contain fine hairs that may cause an allergic reaction for some people. Collect the fruit heads when dried to a pale straw colour. Each fruit should come off the head easily when fingers are rubbed up the stem. Collect more fruits than required as not all fruits contain viable seed. Be very careful when cleaning this species as the fruits contain fine hairs that may cause an allergic reaction for some people. To clean, rub the fruit heads gently to dislodge the seed at the base of each fruit. Use a sieve to separate 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. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 90%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.
|Location||No. of seeds|
|28,500 (123 g)|
28,500 (123 g)