Ptilotus spathulatus (R.Br.) Poir.

Encycl. Suppl 4: 620 (1816) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Deeply taprooted herb, with several prostrate usually unbranched stems to 40 cm long. Stems pubescent, at least toward spike, often reddish. Basal leaves spathulate, to c. 7 cm long, 1 cm wide, expanded only in the distal 1–2.5 cm, ± glabrous and somewhat fleshy; stem leaves reducing to obovate or oblanceolate, expanding shortly above base. Spike upturned, cylindric, 2–12 cm long, 2–2.5 cm diam., very dense, yellow-green; bract ovate, c. 8 mm long, brown; bracteoles broadly ovate, as long as bract, straw-coloured or brown-tipped; perianth 9–12 mm long; tepals free virtually to base, outer surface densely silky-plumose to within 1 mm of apex, inner surface glabrous except for loose woolly tuft at base; fertile stamens 3–5; ovary subsessile, with fine hairs on keels near apex, style eccentric. Flowers mainly Aug.–Jan.

CVU, DunT, Gold, GGr, LoM, MuF, MuM, MSB, NIS, OtP, RobP, VRiv, VVP, Wim. Also WA, SA, NSW, Tas. Widespread and locally common in drier, semi-fertile plains country in northern and western Victoria, confined to loamier soils of swales and depressions in dune-mallee areas. Now rare near Melbourne (Keilor Plains, Werribee areas) through habitat destruction. Collected recently from limestone areas near Omeo.

Created by: Andre Messina, 2016-08-04
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-04-18
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Caryophyllanae
family Amaranthaceae
genus Ptilotus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Ptilotus spathulatus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Ptilotus spathulatus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Scroll Belt present native
Robinvale Plains present native
Murray Fans present native
Otway Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory