Seeds of South Australia
Ptilotus beckerianus (Amaranthaceae)
Ironstone mulla mulla
List of species for Ptilotus
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Seed collecting:
November to February
Herbarium regions:
Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island
NRM regions:
Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island
IBRA regions
Kangaroo Island (KAN01)Kanmantoo
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [on roadsides; roadworks a threat]
Eyre Hills (EYB03)Eyre Yorke Block
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)
Talia (EYB04) 
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Ptilotus]
SA Flora:
Flora of South Australia Edition 5
Name derivation:
Ptilotus from the Greek 'ptilotos' meaning feathered or winged; referring to the hairy flowers. Beckerianus named after Ludwig Philipp Heinrich Becker (1808-1861), a German scientist, artist and botanical illustrator, and lithographer. Illustrated works for Ferdinand Mueller.
Endemic to South Australia and found on Kangaroo Island and the lower Eyre Peninsula, growing on sand, laterite or ironstone gravel, on flats or gentle slopes.
Native. Very rare in South Australia.
Plant description:
Erect perennial herbs to 20 cm high with stems and leaves glabrous. Leaves spathulate, obovate or narrowly elliptic, with basal leaves to 50 mm long and 10 mm wide, stem leaves to 32 mm long and 7 mm wide. Inflorescences terminal, hemispherical, ovoid, globose or shortly cylindrical, to 9 cm long, with 60 white, pinkish tinged when fresh flowers covered in dense hairs. Flowering between August and January.
Fruit type:
Cylindrical head containing numerous long papery and hairy fruits, each containing one seed.
Seed type:
Orange-brown reniform seed to 3 mm long.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
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.
Seed cleaning:
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.
Seed viability:
From five collections, the seed viability were low to high, ranging from 0% to 100%.
Seed germination:
Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
396+400 (5.54+5.51 g)
1280 (16.7 g)
30-408-Dec-2004DJD 75
Eyre Peninsula
28-Mar-20060%+5°C, -18°C
BGA26606-Jan-2006Settler Rd (Pobke)
Eyre Peninsula
BGA1365 (7.55 g)200+21-Jan-2009DJD1375
Kangaroo Island
BGA26 (0.2 g)606-Jan-2006Pobke-Settlers Rd
Eyre Peninsula
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table:
DateResultT0T50Pre-treatment | Germination medium | Incubator: Photoperiod / Thermoperiod
Jun-05100%11 d21 d
1% agar;
Incubated under winter conditions
Result: Maximum percentage of germination observed.
T0: Number of days before first germinant observed.
T50: Number of days to achieve 50% germination.
Pre-treatment: The initial treatment that the seeds received prior to placement on germination media.
Germination medium: The substrate that seeds were placed on for the duration of the germination experiment.
Incubator conditions:
Photoperiod: The duration of light exposure that the seeds were subject to during a 24 hour period.
Thermoperiod: The constant or diurnal temperatures that seeds were subject to during a 24 hour period.
Winter conditions: 15°C 20 h (3am→11pm); 5°C 4 h (11pm→3am) / 10 h light (8am→6pm); 14 h dark (6pm→8am)
Spring/Autumn conditions: 22°C 12 h (8am→8pm); 10°C 12 h (8pm→8am) / 12 h light (8am→8pm); 12 h dark (8pm→8am)
Summer conditions: 30°C 14 h (6am→8pm); 15°C 10 h (8pm→6am) / 14 h light (6am→8pm); 10 h dark (8pm→6am)