Seeds of South Australia
Ptilotus macrocephalus (Amaranthaceae)
Square-headed Fox-tail
List of species for Ptilotus
Display more images
Click on an image to enlarge it
Seed collecting:
October to January
Herbarium regions:
North Western, Lake Eyre, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Alinytjara Wilurara, South Australian Arid Lands, South East
IBRA regions
SUMMARY
Mount Gambier (SVP02)Southern Volcanic Plain
 Least Concern
Bridgewater (NCP01)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Least Concern   [likes disturbance ]
Glenelg Plain (NCP02) 
 Least Concern
Lucindale (NCP03) 
 Least Concern
Tintinara (NCP04) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU D2)   [edge of range, poss. decline]
Lowan Mallee (MDD04)Murray Darling Depression
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)
Wimmera (MDD05) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Strzelecki Desert (SSD05)Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Breakaways (STP01)Stony Plains
 Near Threatened
Oodnadatta (STP02) 
 Near Threatened
Macumba (STP05) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [limited habitat]
Witjira (STP06) 
 Least Concern
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Least Concern
Coongie (CHC06) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [limited habitat]
Everard Block (CER03)Central Ranges
 Least Concern
Tieyon (FIN03)Finke
 Near Threatened
Pedirka (FIN04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
IBRA regions
DISPLAY ALL
Mount Gambier (SVP02)Southern Volcanic PlainLeast Concern
4 of 4 subregionsNaracoorte Coastal PlainLeast Concern
, Vulnerable
2 of 6 subregionsMurray Darling DepressionRare
, Endangered
Strzelecki Desert (SSD05)Simpson Strzelecki DunefieldsRare
  (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
4 of 7 subregionsStony PlainsLeast Concern
, Near Threatened
, Rare
2 of 4 subregionsChannel CountryLeast Concern
, Rare
Everard Block (CER03)Central RangesLeast Concern
2 of 2 subregionsFinkeNear Threatened
, Rare
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. Macrocephalus from the Greek 'macros' meaning large and 'kephale' meaning head; referring to the species large flower-spike.
Distribution:
Found in the north, north-east and lower South-east parts of South Australia, grows in a wide range of habitats, including alluvium, stony plains and steep hills, but it is absent from cracking clay or coarse sandy soils. Also found in all mainland states.
Status:
Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Annual or perennial herb with a long woody tap root. Stems semi-erect, up to 1.3 m tall, single or several-tufted, simple or occasionally branching, covered in hairs on young shoots from leaf axils. Leaves linear to narrow-lanceolate, lower ones to 160 mm long and 15 mm wide, usually tufted at the ground, upper ones shorter, subsessile, all glabrescent. Flower-spikes solitary, very variable in shape and colour, globular or conical to cylindrical, sweetly scented when fresh with greenish or greenish-cream, rarely silvery-white flowers with the glabrous tips usually pink. Flowers throughout the year especially between July and December.
Fruit type:
Globular to cylindrical 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.