Seeds of South Australia
Ptilotus nobilis ssp. nobilis (Amaranthaceae)
Regal Fox-tail
List of species for Ptilotus
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Seed collecting:
October to January
Herbarium regions:
North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
IBRA regions
Northern Flinders (FLB05)Flinders Lofty Block
 Least Concern
Torrens (GAW06)Gawler
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Roxby (GAW07) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Commonwealth Hill (GAW08) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Kintore (GVD04)Great Victoria Desert
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Tallaringa (GVD05) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Warriner (SSD04)Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Strzelecki Desert (SSD05) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Breakaways (STP01)Stony Plains
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Oodnadatta (STP02) 
 Least Concern
Murnpeowie (STP03) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Peake-Dennison Inlier (STP04) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Macumba (STP05) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Witjira (STP06) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Baltana (STP07) 
 Least Concern
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Lake Pure (CHC07) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Mann-Musgrave Block (CER01)Central Ranges
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Everard Block (CER03) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Tieyon (FIN03)Finke
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
Pedirka (FIN04) 
 Least Concern   [(no records)]
IBRA regions
Northern Flinders (FLB05)Flinders Lofty BlockLeast Concern
3 of 8 subregionsGawlerLeast Concern
2 of 4 subregionsGreat Victoria DesertLeast Concern
2 of 4 subregionsSimpson Strzelecki DunefieldsLeast Concern
7 of 7 subregionsStony PlainsLeast Concern
2 of 4 subregionsChannel CountryLeast Concern
2 of 3 subregionsCentral RangesLeast Concern
2 of 2 subregionsFinkeLeast 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. Nobilis means notable or showy; alluding to the species large and showy flower-spike.
Found across much of South Australia except for the wetter parts, growing in a variety of habitats, including Acacia woodland, mallee-eucalypt woodland, shrubland or grassland, on red sands, sandy loams or clays, occasionally on stony sites. Also found in all mainland states.
Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
Spreading to erect herb to 1 m high or more with branching stems on larger specimens. Leaves obovate to broadly spathulate, those at base to 15 cm long and 7 cm wide, subfleshy, glabrous except on youngest growth, margins often undulate. Flower-spike ovoid at first, to 5 cm wide, elongating with age, to 15 cm long with yellowish or pinkish when young, intensely fragrant when fresh. Flowering between August and November. This subspecies is distinguished from the other subspecies by the inflorescences being 5–20 cm long (2–5 cm long in subsp. semilanatus), with the apex conical ( truncate or obtuse in subsp. semilanatus), the tepals 17–24 mm long (14–17 mm long in subsp. semilanatus), and the linear or narrowly-spathulate leaves 10–40 mm wide, with straight margins (2–6(–10) mm wide, margins undulatein subsp. semilanatus).
Fruit type:
Cylindrical head containing numerous long papery and hairy fruits, each containing one seed
Seed type:
Dark red to black reinform seed to 2 mm long and 1.5 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 two collections, the seed viability were average, ranging from 55% to 57%.
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
8700 (80.19 g)
8750 (81 g)
>10023-Oct-2004MOL 4569
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.