Common name: Mountain Lettuce, Cattleman's Lettuce
Podolepis robusta (Maiden & Betche) J.H.Willis APNI*
Synonyms: Podolepis longipedata var. robusta Maiden & Betche APNI*
Description: Perennial herb to 80 cm high with multiple shoots arising from basal rosette. Taproot stout.
Basal leaves oblanceolate, 4–20 cm long, 1.5–5.5 cm wide, with obtuse to broadly acute apex, glabrous, light green, rarely moderately to densely white-woolly, stems and cauline leaves with woolly indumentum.
Inflorescence a narrow loose corymbose panicle, almost flat topped, 3–11 heads. Heads yellow to orange, 25–40 mm diameter. Claw of intermediate involucral bracts usually c.1 mm wide, 5–10 mm length, with with pale brown to purplish glandular hairs. Ligulate florets 9–13 mm long with 3–5 teeth. Disc florets 6–10 mm long.
Pappus bristles c. 4–8.5 mm long, barbellate with teeth. 0.1 mm long. Achenes sparsely scabrid in upper part, 2.5–3.0 mm long.
Flowering: Flowers in summer.
Distribution and occurrence: Reasonably common and widespread throughout the Australian Alps Biogeographic Region (Commonwealth of Australia 2012), from Mt Ginini (Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory), through the Snowy Mountains (New South Wales) and virtually throughout the Victorian alps and subalps as far south as the Baw Baw Plateau.
Podolepis robusta usually occurs above the (Eucalyptus pauciflora) treeline (or below where the treeline is inverted in cold-air drainage hollows). It typically occurs in subalpine/alpine grassland and open heathland. Where P. robusta and P. laciniata are ± sympatric, P. robusta will nearly always be found at higher elevations but, in a few instances, the two may occur in mixed populations. Altitude range c. 1200–1920 m.
NSW subdivisions: NC, ST
Other Australian states: Vic.
Text by Lousia Murray
Taxon concept: Frood, D. (2015) Description of a new species allied to Podolepis robusta (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae) from the south-eastern Australian Alps. Muelleria 33: 61–65.
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.