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Ptilotus modestus T.Hammer
Family Amaranthaceae
Ptilotus modestus T.Hammer APNI*

Synonyms: Ptilotus gaudichaudii var. parviflorus (Benth.) Benl APNI*
Ptilotus hemisteirus F.Muell. APNI*

Description: Erect annual herbs to 25 cm high. Stems glabrescent with sparse crisped, nodose hairs.

Basal leaves sessile or subsessile, oblanceolate, 5–30 mm llong, 3–6 mm wide, glabrous or glabrescent, often withered the time of flowering. Stem leaves sessile or subsessile, linear to narrowly oblanceolate, 5–25 mm long, 1–4 mm wide, mucronate, glabrous or glabrescent, with sparse nodose hairs.

Spike green, ovoid to hemispherical, rarely cylindrical, 12–24 mm long, 15–20 mm wide. Bracts broadly ovate, 3–4 mm long, apex shortly mucronate. Bracteoles broadly obovate, 3.6–5 mm long, apex shortly mucronate. Tepals 6–8.8 mm long, overlapping at anthesis for most of length to form a tube, spreading slightly towards the apex, green along midline section becoming whitish-opaque with slightly reddish tinge along the margins; outer surface with short hairs up to 0.4 mm long restricted to midline, denser, longer and silkier towards the base; inner surface with tufts of hairs on the margins; apex acute, slightly in-rolled, glabrous, sometimes reddish. Fertile stamens 3, rarely 4; filaments unequal, 4.5–5.8 mm long; anthers cream to pink, 0.4–0.6 mm long, Staminodes 2, rarely 1. Ovary obovoid, sparsely hairy apically, shortly stalked. Style curved, 4.5–5.5 mm long.

Flowering: Typically from May to October, with outlying records in February to April and November.

Distribution and occurrence: In eucalypt woodlands and mulga shrublands in red or brown sandy clay to loam soils.
NSW subdivisions: NWP, SWP, NFWP, SFWP
Other Australian states: Qld N.T. S.A.
AVH map***

Until recently Ptilotus gaudichaudii comprised three subspecies: subsp. gaudichaudii, subsp. eremita and subsp. parviflorus. A morphological study by Hammer et al (2018) has reinstated Ptilotus gaudichaudii subsp. eremita and subsp. parviflorus to the rank of species as P.eremita and P. modestus respectively. Ptilotus gaudichaudii is found from the western coast of Western Australia through arid South Australia and north to the southern part of the Northern Territory. Whereas P. eremita occurs in Western Australia, nearly its entire range overlapping with P. gaudichaudii.

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.

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