Seeds of South Australia
Ptilotus helipteroides (Amaranthaceae)
Woolly Tails
List of species for Ptilotus
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Seed collecting:
October to November
Herbarium regions:
North Western, Lake Eyre
NRM regions:
Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA regions
Kintore (GVD04)Great Victoria Desert
 Least Concern
Tallaringa (GVD05) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Breakaways (STP01)Stony Plains
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Witjira (STP06) 
 Least Concern
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [outlier]
Mann-Musgrave Block (CER01)Central Ranges
 Near Threatened
Watarru (CER02) 
 Least Concern
Everard Block (CER03) 
 Least Concern
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. Helipteroides means resembling the genus Helipterum.
Distribution:
Found in the northern part of South Australia, growing in grasslands, herblands or mulga open woodland on hills or plains, with red gravelly soils. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.
Status:
Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in Queensland. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Annual herbs with usually tufted stems often arcuately ascending and sometimes subfastigiately branched, forming clumps of up to 1.5 m diameter. Leaves narrow, linear-lanceolate, mid-green with copious silver-grey hairs as on the shoots especially when young. Flower-spikes large ovoid iridescent, lilac-purple to mauve and pinkish-red head.
Fruit type:
Pinkish ovoid head containing numerous long papery and hairy fruits, each containing one seed.
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. 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.