Plants of
South Australia
Ptilotus sessilifolius
Amaranthaceae
Crimson Fox-tail
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
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Oodnadatta
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Keith
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Etymology

Ptilotus from the Greek 'ptilotos' meaning feathered or winged; referring to the hairy flowers. Sessilifolius from Latin meaning unstalked leaves.

Distribution and status

Found in the northern part of South Australia, growing in a variety of habitats, including sand dunes, and gravelly rises with clay-loam. Also found in all mainland states. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect, rounded shrubby perennial to 1 m high with densely hairy stems, hairs persisting with age. Leaves obovate or elliptic, to 75 mm long and 30 mm wide. Flower-spike terminal, globular to ovoid with 20 purple, pink or mauve flowers, outer surface hirsute, inner woolly at base, pubescent above. Flowering between June and October. Fruits are globular to ovoid head containing a number of long papery and hairy fruits, each containing one seed Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October 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 will have a 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. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.