Flora | Flora Index | Ptilotus

The Longtails (Ptilotus polystachyus) are an erect, sometimes sprawling herb that can grow up to 2 metres high. Characterised by its flower spikes, that start off short and extend into a long narrow cylinder shape. The spikes are usually pale green-yellow in colour, straw-coloured (the perianth tips sometimes has a reddish-tinged) when fully developed, later turning brownish. There is also a red-brown form known locally as the Red Pussytail.

The plant is quite common on sand dunes, stony and red sandy soils.

Common name
Long Tails, bottle washers, Prince of Wales feather.

The Longtails can often be found growing on mass across an area.

Part of the Mulla Mullas group, being flowering plants that are also sometimes called Pussytails, due to their distinctive shaped flower heads.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Amaranthaceae
  • Genus: Ptilotus
  • Species: P. polystachyus
  • Binomial name: Ptilotus polystachyus

Footnote & References

  1. Ptilotus polystachyus (Gaudich.) F.Muell. Prince of Wales Feather, FloraBase, the WEstern Australian Flora, https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/2751  (accessed December 24, 2020).