Plant of the Month — August 2018

Thomasia grandiflora (Large Flowered Thomasia) is a low multi-stemmed shrub to 1 metre high, it has large, often pendulous purple flowers with a papery, crinkled appearance. What look to be the petals, are actually fused sepals, the petals are reduced to scale-like appendages at the base of the stamens. This species can be found from the Geraldton sandplain, Swan Coastal Plain, Jarrah forest regions and along the south coast, flowering from July to November.

The genus Thomasia has around 40 species and is confined to southern WA except for one species, Thomasia petalocalyx, which extends into SA and Vic. Thomasia and the closely related genus Lasiopetalum are currently being revised by Drs Carol Wilkins and Kelly Shepherd at the Western Australian Herbarium. This is critical, as many species including a number that are potentially new but not yet named, are rare or under threat and a lack of up-to-date information poses significant problems for conservation management.

Photo: R. Davis

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