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.
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.