Seeds of South Australia
Ptilotus nobilis ssp. semilanatus (Amaranthaceae)
Hairy Fox-tail
List of species for Ptilotus
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Seed collecting:
December to February
Herbarium region:
South Eastern
NRM region:
South East
IBRA region
Wimmera (MDD05)Murray Darling Depression
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [in Wolsely CP, & a few other parks]
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. Nobilis means notable or showy; alluding to the species large and showy flower-spike. Semilanatus from the Latin 'semi' meaning half and 'lanata' meaning woolly.
Found in the lower South-east in South Australia, growing on loamy or clayey soils. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Native. Very rare in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Prostrate or weakly ascending herb to 30 cm high. Leaves oblanceolate, those at base to 8 cm long and 15 mm wide, glabrous or remaining lightly pubescent, margins usually plane. Flower-spike hemispherical to ovoid, to 5 cm wide, with consistently purple flowers. Perianth 13–22 mm long, ovary with hairs usually confined to keels near apex. Flowering in October to January. This subspecies is distinguished from the other subspecies by the inflorescences being 2–5 cm long (5–20 cm long in subsp. nobilis), with the apex truncate or obtuse (conical in subsp. nobilis), the tepals 14–17 mm long (17–24 mm long in subsp. nobilis), and the linear or narrowly-spathulate leaves 2–6(–10) mm wide, with undulate margins (10–40 mm wide, margins straight in subsp. nobilis). It shares the narrow basal leaves with long attenuate bases and the usually hemispherical or ovoid inflorescences, with subsp. angustifolius, but differs from this subsp. in the shorter perianths and styles.
Fruit type:
Ovoid head containing numerous long papery and hairy fruits, each containing one seed
Seed type:
Orange-brown reinform seed to 3 mm long and 2 mm wide.
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 one collection, the seed viability was low, at 36%.
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
BGA534+541 (7.37+7.47 g)3018-Jan-2005DJD 93
South Eastern
28-Mar-200636%+5°C, -18°C

2300 (30.8 g)
1818-Jan-2005DJD 92
South Eastern
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.