Seeds of South Australia
Ptilotus murrayi (Amaranthaceae)
Murray's Fox-tail
List of species for Ptilotus
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Seed collecting:
April to September
Herbarium region:
Lake Eyre
NRM region:
South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA region
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Near Threatened   [edge of range, Qld spp]
Coongie (CHC06) 
 Near Threatened   [edge of range, Qld spp]
Lake Pure (CHC07) 
 Near Threatened   [edge of range, Qld spp]
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. Murrayi named after Dr James Patrick Murray, a surgeon, plant collector and a member of Howitt’s Expedition, who collected the type specimen from the flooded tracts of Wills Creek in 1861.
Found in the far north-east corner of South Australia growing on alluvial areas, favouring heavy cracking clay soil. Also found in Western Australia and Queensland.
Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Mat forming annual herb to 80 cm wide with creeping or ascending stems to 15 cm high, sometimes red. Leaves obtuse, spathulate or oblong-ovate, to 30 mm long and 8 mm wide. Flower-spikes solitary or 2 or 3 (rarely more), terminal or more often sessile in axils, subglobular becoming elongate to cylindrical, with cream and rose-pink flowers, resembling tiny cotton-wool balls. Flowering between February and August.
Fruit type:
Globular head containing numerous long papery and hairy fruits, each containing one seed.
Seed type:
Dark red to dark brown reinform seed to 1 mm long and 0.7 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 average. at 70%.
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
53000 (44 g)
20000 (16.85 g)
Lake Eyre
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.