FEATHER-HEADS (Ptilotus macrocephalous)

Ptilotus macrocephalus (Feather-heads) – Amaranthaceae

I found this lovely and rather interesting grass, Feather-heads (Ptilotus macrocephalous) in a landscaped bed in the Royal Botanic Garden (RBG) on my regular walks when I lived on the inner south-east side of Melbourne pre-April 2015.

This bed was filled with many different types of grass with various heights, seed heads and interesting planting patterns.

The grass bed below is the particular one I’m talking about.

The bed looks rather overgrown in the 2012 image above, but it is worth a look close-up if you’re visiting the RBG in Melbourne (ehrrr…..assuming it’s still there  😀  ).   The bed gets full sun and I imagine the soil rather dry in Melbourne’s hot summer (like today which is very hot at 38C).

Feather-heads are a perennial with woody rootstock and widespread on dry sites in western Victorian grasslands but becoming increasingly rare.

Few seeds develop during a wet spring as the upright flower collects water and the pollen is destroyed, so I might suggest the last 3 years of flooding rains in Victoria (and the east coast of Australia in general) might have wiped this grass out in the wild?  Just a guess.   The long-range weather forecast said the next 3 years are going to be exessivly dry and hot in Australia.

FEATHER-HEADS (Ptilotus macrocephalus)

It’s native to Australia and classified as a herb.  The showy ‘bottlebrush-like’ flowers are up to 12cm long and 7cm wide, held at the ends of stems up to 80cm tall.

Just another of the grasses filed in a folder in my photo library that actually is identified – most are not.

WINDMILL GRASS (Chloris truncata)

There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.

Thomas Jefferson

I find grasses much more interesting than flowers (most of the time) and the most interesting one I’ve come across (so far) is Windmill Grass (Chloris truncata).

It is a native species which is frequent in grassland and open, dry, forest country from South Australia through to Queensland.

The one and only photo I’ve got was a wee bit too busy for my liking, but when I went back a week later to try and get a better shot, the grass was gone.  Mown down by Les the Grasscutter with his old tractor and flail.

I’ve never seen it again in that area next to the path or any other location for that matter.

WINDMILL GRASS (Chloris truncate) – 22nd JANUARY 2018