Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday 24 July 2017

For love of the Mulla Mulla - Western Australian wildflower

I fell in love with the Mulla Mulla years ago on our first trip through the Western Australian Pilbara to the Kimberley in 1986. Now whenever we head north I look out for my first sight of the Mulla Mulla flowering as it tells me that we have arrived in the Pilbara.

 Little did I realise until a couple of weeks ago that there is a variety of Mulla Mulla that grows in the Western Australian wheatbelt - the Green Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus polystachyus.  We had seen it in the north, and in the midwest and east of Hyden, but I don't recall ever seeing it in the wheatbelt. But there it was growing near Dumbleyung, and along the roadside northwards through the wheatbelt, and actually on my brother-in-law and nephew's property in Bruce Rock! I was astounded as I don't remember ever having seen it flower there - but perhaps I had never visited at flowering time before. I was in raptures. From my reading since I see that the Green Mulla Mulla grows in woodland and plains in sand from Halls Creek down to Exmouth, Jerramungup in the south and Giles in the far east. 

 I blogged about Lake Dumbleyung last week, please click here if you missed it - Lake Dumbleyung - 20 year phenomenon)

 According to the  Australian Native Plants Society there are about 100 species in the genus Ptilotus, all but one occurring only in Australia. They are found in a range of habitats from tropical areas to the arid inland. They are usually herbaceous perennials with flowers in dense, brightly-coloured conical heads. They are sometimes called "pussy tails' because of the appearance of the flower spikes.
The name is derived from Greek - Ptilotus... ptilon, down or feathers, a reference to the appearance of the flowers.

I became a windflower hunter shortly after purchasing my first digital camera in 2005. Since then photographing wildflowers and finding varieties I haven't seen before has become a passion. There are around 12,000 known species of wildflowers in Western Australia. The wildflower season extends from July in the north to November in the south. I feel so incredibly fortunate to be among this amazing variety and beauty. 

Here is a pic of me photographing Mulla Mulla at Wooleen Station in the Murchison area in July 2015 - you can read more here - Murchison River camping at Wooleen Station

 Usually in July we are spending some of our winter away in the north of Western Australia where it is much warmer. Unfortunately not this year. So I decided to go back and troll through my Mulla Mulla photos to take me back there while I sit with the cold chill around me here. I hope you will enjoy this visit too.

This Mulla Mulla was seen along the Great Northern Highway near the Gascoyne River on the way to Marble Bar in the Pilbara in July 2006.

Below you can see varieties of Mulla Mulla we saw at Wooleen Station near Murchison. This first variety is one we had not seen before our trip in July 2015. I am not a wildflower expert but from my research I think it is Low Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus beardii

 I am not sure if this is the Nodding Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus auriculifolius - or Pussytail Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus macrocephalus. As I mentioned before there are about 100 species of Mulla Mulla and I am certainly not a Botanist or expert. 

And here is again along the roadside 

These Mulla Mulla photos are from our trip to Mount Augustus in July 2014. I love this contrast of the pink against the red rock of Mount Augustus. You can read more on my previous blogs here - Mount Augustus Walk Trails
Flowers that bloom in the red rock of Mount Augustus 

 And this delicate bloom

And at the Kennedy Ranges - Exploring the Kennedy Ranges

These are a few varieties we saw in the Karijini National Park in the Pilbara in July 2014 - Karijini camping - Pilbara

This is the Tall Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus exaltatus - photographed near Marble Bar in July 2006. Growing up to 1.2 metres high, this is a very common Mulla Mulla which is distributed over much of Western Australia, except for the region from Geraldton and around the south coast to the WA-South Australian border. 

This quite delicate variety on long thin gently arching stems is the Weeping Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus calostachyus - which we have seen along the Telfer Road at the old Ragged Hills Mine, and on the Great Northern Highway in the Kimberley near Halls Creek, and also south of Broome near Goldwire. 

Last year we travelled through the Kimberley in Western Australia's north west for about 6 weeks. I blogged about Kimberley flowers last year - The wildflowers are blooming in the Kimberley.  It truly was a wonderful time to be in the Kimberley when the flowers were starting to bloom.  July is also the best time to visit because the floods have subsided from the summer "wet", the humidity is not so high, the days are clear and sunny and the temperatures are warm, perfect for walking. Though they can rise to the high 30s C!

Here are some Mulla Mulla we saw along the way:

At Cape Keraudren between Port Hedland and Broome the Mulla Mulla had views of the ocean. I had never seen them this close to the ocean before. 

This species is a low ground hugging variety -

And further north still on the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome, where we went bush camping with friends who had lived in Broome for many years. 

I think these may be Bachelors Buttons - Gomphrena canescens.  I love the way they flower on mass. 

Now here is the thing..... I always thought that Bachelors Buttons were are type of Mulla Mulla, but I have now found they are not. However the Mulla Mullas - Ptilotus - and the  Bachelors Buttons - Gomphrena - are both in the Amaranthaceae family - so they actually are related. 

And some more of those Bachelors Buttons.  Whether they are a Mulla Mulla or not, I absolutely love them, especially when I see them flowering on mass.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed my post about Mulla Mulla today. For more information you can go to Flora Base - DPAW-Flora Base
 Ptilotus:  Geography, cytology, number of species. Native of Australia. Largely endemic to Australia (with one species extending to Indonesia). A genus of about 90 species; about 80 species in Western Australia. 

And one last Mulla Mulla - seen in the Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley.

Do you have a favourite wildflower? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection
Weekend Travel Inspiration 

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 


  1. Love seeing the varieties of flora there. We have some that are similar!

  2. Wow, these are beautiful - I've never seen flowers like this. Gorgeous shots!

  3. Truly beautiful. You have an artist's eye and the technical ability to create masterpiece shots. Yes we are lucky to live in a region offering such natural beauty too.

    1. thank you Jo. Too kind. The wildflowers of Western Australia are truly incredible aren't they!

  4. Lambs-tails ;) Oh Jill, I remember the last time that you shared only a few of the beautiful Mulla Mulla plants, and how much I enjoyed them and commented to such. This post is truly magnificent with so many varieties and colours. How would one even think to choose a favorite. I love them all. There are a few wildflowers that bloom in different times that I always look forward to seeing Jill... A big favorite are the Bluebells, Fairy Slippers, Wild Geranium, Bee Balm, Rose Gentian, and Wild Petunia is growing along the ground now across the lane from me. Thank you for adding such beauty to my early morning. Hugs

    1. Thanks so much Mary. Interesting isn't it how some of these plants you mention I would perhaps see in suburban gardens over here. Wildflowers are truly wondrous things.

  5. Beautiful shots! Such lovely blooms.
    Thank you for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/07/hhhhiiiiiiiisssssssss.html

  6. Beautiful!
    I love wildflowers!
    The fourth Wednesday of each month (tomorrow for July) is Wildflower Wednesday at Clay and Limestone. I am sure Gail would welcome this post for her Wildflower Wednesday meme.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week!

    1. Thanks Lea. I will pop over and look at Wildflower Wednesday tomorrow.

  7. Lovely and decorative flowers!

  8. Congrats on your 9 years blogging Jill, a great effort. I don't comment often but usually read most of your lovely posts. Keep them coming.

    1. Thanks Chris for stopping by and for the congrats. I shudder at my first posts 9 years ago!

  9. You gathered some great photo of the flower. Love the shape of the cone looking one, and the green kind of reminds me of what we call Hens and Chickens for lack of calling to mind at the moment their true name. Except the green ones are on a stem. :) Very nice.

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

  10. Hi Jill,

    Thank you for introducing me to the Mulla Mulla; what an impressive wildflower it is, so striking against the Australian landscape, and as you say, viewed in masses, it must be such a beautiful sight, so invigorating with those crispy petals and pointy peaks!

    There are so many different kinds of wildflowers that burst onto the scene, here on the island, in the spring, that it is impossible to name them all, but a few that make me smile are daisies, narcissus, poppies, morning glories, orchids and white mustard.

    Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday, Jill.

  11. How beautiful, it reminds a little of wild flower thistles that grow here.

  12. Beautiful photographs as usual Jill. Gorgeous flowers! :-) #TeamLovinLife

  13. These are exquisite wildflowers Jill. They look a little like bottlebrush but are much prettier with their array of gorgeous pink colours. The white colour is also very pretty. I will be on the look out for these on our next trip over your way. #TeamLovinLife

  14. The wildflowers are gorgeous - and, as always, beautifully photographed. It reminds me walking through clumps of wild growing thyme in the Otago region in NZ. #TeamLovinLife

  15. Your wildflower shots are stunning Jill. #TeamLovinLife

  16. I have not seen these type of wildflowers before. I like their shape. The creamy yellow ones are my favourite.

  17. Hi Jill, TY for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice response. You've made me fall in love with beautiful Mulla Mulla. I love the conical shape and the pale purple/pink are definitely my favorite.

  18. What beautiful wildflowers!

  19. My favorite color of flower! I love Mulla Mulla and your photos are stunning.! So glad you stopped by and joined Wildflower Wednesday. I love learning about wildflowers from all over. gail

  20. I agree with Gail, my favorite color of flower and your shots are absolutely stunning. I love seeing how flowers that I know like Bachelor Button's grow elsewhere in the world!

  21. They are absolutely gorgeous--the flowers and your photos of them! It's always nice to take a stroll through the archives.

  22. As always your images have just blown me away, what a photogenic plant the mulla mulla is! And, so many varieties, low; tall; nodding; pussytail and weeping to name just a few, fascinating.
    Thanks for being the most wonderful tour guide during Mosaic Monday's first year. I really hope you'll be back with us again in September with more exceptional posts like this one.

  23. Jill - I am also a wildflower lover and am making an effort through my blog to identify the wildflowers I see in Montana. Thanks for introducing me to the Mulla Mulla - my husband and I hope to visit Australia at some point during our retirement, and you have given me another something to which I can look forward.


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.