Ptilotus macrocephalus (R.Br.) Poir.


Encycl. suppl. 4 620 (1816) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Deeply taprooted herb with 1–several, ascending to erect, usually simple flowering stems to c. 50 cm high. Stems glabrous. Leaves narrowly obovate to linear, c. 3–10 cm long, 4–12 mm wide, glabrous, thickish; crowded toward base or ± rosetted. Spike erect, cylindric, 4–15 cm long, 4.5–6 cm diam., very dense, pale green to silvery white, rarely pinkish; bract ovate to lanceolate, 11–20 mm long, acute, straw-coloured, translucent; bracteoles elliptic, obtuse, sometimes shortly mucronate, shorter than bract; perianth 20–28 mm long; tepals free almost to base, outer surface densely covered with long silky hairs to within 2 mm of apex (hairs shorter in lower third), inner surface glabrous; fertile stamens usually 3; ovary subsessile, glabrous or shortly pubescent in the upper half, style eccentric, silky-hairy along one side. Flowers mainly Oct.–Feb.

Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, Glep, Gold, GGr, HSF, LoM, MuF, MuM, NIS, OtP, VRiv, VVP, WaP, Wim. All mainland States. Occasional in grassland, grassy woodland and heathland, chiefly on heavy soils west and north of Melbourne, but also on sandy soils in far western Victoria, with a single, very disjunct occurrence near Wingan Inlet in the far east. Much depleted through much of its former range.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1996). Amaranthaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-07-24
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 macrocephalus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Ptilotus macrocephalus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Bridgewater present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present cultivated
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales