Seeds of South Australia
Ptilotus disparilis (Amaranthaceae)
Shrubby Fox-tail
List of species for Ptilotus
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Seed collecting:
October to December
Herbarium region:
Flinders Ranges
NRM region:
South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Northern Flinders (FLB05)Flinders Lofty Block
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [highly localised; Leigh Ck mine expansion a threat; endemic to SA]
Murnpeowie (STP03)Stony Plains
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [highly localised; Leigh Ck mine expansion a threat; endemic to SA]
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. Disparilis from the Latin 'disparilis' meaning dissimilar; referring to this species dissimilar floral morphology when compared to other taxa in this complex.
Distribution:
Endemic to South Australia and found in a small area west of the northern Flinders Ranges, between Copley and Farina, growing in stony brown clay, on rises around saline depressions and podsol breakaways near mine tailings, in low shrubland of Tecticornia, Gunniopsis and Sclerolaena.
Status:
Native. Very rare in South Australia.
Plant description:
Intricately branched, strongly divaricate, spinescent shrub to 30 cm high with smooth young stems covered in dense hairs, older wood smooth. Leaves sessile to subsessile, narrowly obovate or elliptic or ovate, to 5.5 mm long and 1 mm wide, smooth, with sparse to moderately dense (on newer leaves) hairs, green. Flower-spike loose head with 5–8 flowers with perianth to 6.5 mm long, grey-white due to hairs, pinkish-purple underneath, tepals narrowly oblong, concave.
Fruit type:
Whitish head with a tinge of pink, containing a number of long papery and hairy fruits, each containing one seed.
Seed type:
Red-brown reniform seed to 2 mm long and 1.2 mm wide.
Embryo type:
Peripheral.
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 with a tinge of pink. 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 germination:
Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.