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Ptilotus semilanatus (Lindl.) F.Muell. ex J.M.Black
Family Amaranthaceae
Ptilotus semilanatus (Lindl.) F.Muell. ex J.M.Black APNI*

Synonyms: Ptilotus nobilis subsp. semilanatus (Lindl.) A.R.Bean APNI*
Ptilotus exaltatus var. semilanatus (Lindl.) Maiden & Betche APNI*
Trichinium semilanatum Lindl. APNI*

Description: Clumping upright to decumbent herbs, 18–35 cm high with a perennial woody taproot. Stems glabrescent; hairs simple or verticillate.

Basal leaves narrowly oblanceolate, 20–60 mm long, 1–5 mm wide, glabrous, margins entire and sometimes undulate, apex mucronate. Stem leaves narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, 10–30 mm long, 1–8 mm wide, glabrous or sometimes with sparse verticillate hairs, margins entire and commonly undulate, apex mucronate.

Spike hemispherical or ovoid (less commonly cylindrical), pink to purple, 5–25(–80) mm long, 30–35 mm wide, with flowers rarely interrupted at the base; apex truncate or obtuse. Bracts narrowly ovate to ovate, 4–6 mm long, 1.9–3 mm wide, apex mucronate. Bracteoles broadly ovate, 4.4–6 mm long, apex mucronate. Tepals widely gaping at anthesis, 14–17 mm long, ±straight, purple or pink throughout, outer surface villous with verticillate hairs, underlain by shorter, denser, and more densely branched hairs, the indumentum shorter and sparser along the midline; apex truncate-serrate, glabrous; inner tepals densely woolly on interior surface. Fertile stamens 3; filaments 7–9.5 mm long, unequal in length, anthers 1.2–1.5 mm long. Staminodes 2 obscured by woolly hairs. Ovary pilose apically, shortly stalked. Style 8–10.5 mm long.

Photo T.M. Tame

Photo T.M. Tame

Distribution and occurrence: Widespread in eucalypt woodlands or grasslands and on plains of orange or brown loamy or clayey soils.
NSW subdivisions: NT, NWS, CWS, SWS, NWP, SWP, NFWP
Other Australian states: Qld Vic. S.A.
AVH map***

Ptilotus semilanatus is most closely related to P. exaltatus. In P. semilanatus the above-ground stems are mostly annual and arise from a perennial, underground, much-branched woody rootstock, and the inflorescences are typically shorter, truncate or rounded (or less commonly cylindrical), with shorter tepals and style, and densely woolly indumentum on the interior surface of the inner tepals.

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & L. Lapinpuro; Updated S.McCune (July 2020)
Taxon concept: Hammer, T.A. et al. (2018) Australian Systematic Botany 31(3): 262-280.

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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