Calotis from the Greek 'kalos' meaning beautiful and 'otos' meaning ear, after the first species named in the genus Calotis cuneifolia which has an ear-shaped pappus. Plumulifera from the Latin 'plumulus' meaning feather and 'fera' to bear, alluding to the feather-like woolly hairs on the seed.
Distribution and status
Found across the northern part of South Australia, growing on silty sand and loam, in floodplains and dried river beds. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)
Annual herb to 50 cm high with stems erect or ascending, branched, sparsely hairy. Basal leaves petiolate, oblanceolate, to 4.5 cm long, soon withering. Stem leaves sessile, cuneate to oblanceolate, to 5 cm long and 10 mm wide, narrowed at the base, dentate or lobed in the distal portion, sparsely hairy. Flower-head in loose leafy terminal cymes of 2-8 flowers, ray florets white to mauve. Flowering between April and October. Fruits are brown round spiny fruit-head. Seeds are brown seed to 2 mm long, covered in woolly hairs, with numerous, long and narrow barbed spines at one end. Barbs on the spines are longer than in Calotis multicaulis. Seed embryo type is spatulate fully developed.
Seed collection and propagation
Collect seeds between June and December. Collect mature seed heads that are dried and turning brown by picking off the heads and placing them in a paper bag. Be careful as the heads are spiny. Leave the heads in the paper bag to dry for at least a week. No further cleaning required if only the heads are collected. If other material were collected, use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Whole heads can be stored 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.