Plant of the Month — February 2016
Thysanotus sparteus R.Br.
Thysanotus sparteus (Leafless Fringed Lily) is a rhizomatous, perennial herb 0.2–1.5 m high. This pretty, leafless plant displays a delicate splash of purple flowers from October–February. Endemic to Western Australia, T. sparteus occurs mainly in Jarrah/Marri forest or woodland on lateritic or loamy soils from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay. In the Perth area it is common in sandy soils in Jarrah and Banksia woodland and is especially frequent in somewhat swampy places.
The name sparteus refers to the resemblance of the plant to leafless shrubs that in the past were used for brooms, the genus Spartium (Spanish Broom) being a good example.
Thysanotus sparteus, a polymorphic species, is the subject of current research at the Western Australian Herbarium by Senior Research Scientist Dr Terry Macfarlane, who has recognised two new species within the current concept of T. sparteus as part of a collaborative research project on the genus.
Photo: R. Davis
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