Plant of the Month: March 2014

PLANT OF THE MONTH: MARCH

Pussytail

(Ptilotus spathulatus)

     

(Photos: E. Cousins, Cape Jervis)

A rarity around the Cape Jervis area, but if you do see it, you’ll understand where its common name comes from … those oh-so-fluffy flowers! They also give rise to the other common names Cat’s Paw or Lambtails. The creamy-yellow flowers in the photo above are about 5cm high. They appear on twining stems coming from a basal rosette of green leaves, seen in the second photo. You can also see in that photo that the leaves at the base are darker on top, and lighter underneath. These are about 6cm long; the leaves on the twining stems are much smaller. The entire plant ends up being about 40cm wide, but only about 5-10cm high. The tap roots are an Aboriginal food source. Drought tolerant, moderately frost hardy… another ornamental plant for your coastal garden?

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