Seeds of South Australia
Ptilotus remotiflorus (Amaranthaceae)
Cordillo Downs Pussy-tail
List of species for Ptilotus
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Seed collecting:
October to January
Herbarium region:
Lake Eyre
NRM region:
South Australian Arid Lands
IBRA region
Sturt Stony Desert (CHC02)Channel Country
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [limited habitat]
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. Remotiflorus from the Latin 'remotus' meaning removed and 'florus' meaning flower; presumably referring to the flowers being apart from each other or the stems.
Found in the far north-east in South Australia, just north of Cordillo Downs homestead, growing on loams or clays with abundant exposed shale, rocks or stones (silcrete), on hillslopes, rocky screes and gullies, in open plain, tableland or semi-desert areas. Also found in Queensland and New South Wales.
Native. Rare in South Australia. Uncommon in New South Wales. Common in Queensland.
Plant description:
Much-branched, divaricate subspinescent shrub to 60 cm high with striate stems, with subverticillate to verticillate hairs, dense on younger parts, grey-green, older wood glabrescent, brown. Leaves with stalk to 6 mm long, ovate to broadly ovate, rarely narrowly ovate, to 18 mm long and 7 mm wide, clustered on new stem shoots, hairs as for stems, dark green, drying blackish, margins usually undulate, rarely flat. Flower-spikes short clusters to 6 cm long, with 10–40  purple to deep pink flowers. Flowering between June and November.
Fruit type:
White to pinkish, ovoid head containing numerous long papery and hairy fruits, each containing one seed.
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 white to 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 contain 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 high, at 90%.
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
700 (1.39 g)
1600 (2.86 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.