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Elegia aggregata

   (Family: Restionaceae)
   
Afrikaans: Hermanus riet  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 1.5m
Spread: 1m
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred altitude: 1000 - 1450m
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Biome: Fynbos
 
Flowering time EDIT
x x x x x x x x x x    
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
Brown
Flower type
 
  Polinator
  Wind
  Flower info
  Flowering January or October. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. Male flowers produce pollen and female flowers produce seeds. Inflorescences are dark brown.
 
 
 
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
  Elegia aggregata has blue-green stems with dark brown sheaths that drop off, leaving behind circular rings known as abscission rings.
 
 
Fruit type EDIT
 
 
Seed colour
Black
  Seed info EDIT
  Seeds are fine and dark, and are produced in December to January. When seeds are ripe, the capsule or seed pod splits open and the tiny dark seeds are released.
 
 
Description EDIT
An attractive tufted plant with blue-green culms which have large brown sheaths when young.
Growing EDIT
Like most restios it requires regular watering, full sun and well-drained soil.
Elegia aggregata is one of the fastest growing plants in the Restionaceae.

There are two commonly used propagation methods for this plant: sowing seeds and dividing rhizomes. Make sure you do not disturb the roots too much. Restio roots, like any other fynbos plant, are very sensitive. You need to be careful that they are not damaged. Divide rhizomes early in winter before the new culms arise from the rhizomes. Keep the plants in light shade and water them very well. Feed the plant every second week with organic fertilizer to encourage fast growth and the production of new culms.

The ideal time to sow seeds is in autumn (April–May) when day and night temperatures fluctuate between 22 and 10 degrees Celsius. Soak seeds for 24 hours prior to sowing. Use a mixture of milled bark and sand (fynbos mixture). Sow seeds in trays with the fynbos mixture and cover them lightly with sand. Sand, instead of milled bark, is preferred for covering seeds, as they are very tiny.

Seeds can be treated with smoke to stimulate germination.
You can burn fynbos material in an enclosed container and channel the smoke into a tent filled with seedling trays. Allow smoke to settle in, then after an hour move the trays out and house them in a well-ventilated area. Elegia aggregata germinates after 4 to 6 weeks. The smoke from the fynbos material produces a chemical cue that breaks the dormancy of seeds. Alternatively, treat seeds prior to sowing by using instant smoke primer.

Trays must be kept moist, but not wet, as that can cause seeds and seedlings to rot (damping-off). This is a common disease in restio seedlings. Prevent this by spraying with fungicides every two weeks after seedlings have emerged. Generally, restios are disease resistant once they pass the seedling stage. They only need sufficient water.

After germination, seedlings must be planted into plug trays to allow them to form a root ball so that they can grow stronger. Feed them with organic fertilizer to encourage growth. After 6 months, individual seedlings must be transplanted into 1 kg bags, again using the fynbos mixture.

The best time to plant Elegia aggregata in your garden is at the beginning of the rainy season. Dig holes and plant them at the same level as they were in the bags. Use two spades of compost during the planting process and mix with soil. Mulch, as this is beneficial to all fynbos plants by preventing evaporation and keeping plants moist.
Distribution EDIT
Western Cape; the Cape Floristic Region South-western mountains; Higher peaks in the Rivierzondereinde mountains. Occurrence in Provincial Conservation Areas or National Parks in the Western Cape Riviersonderend.
History EDIT
Previously known as Chondropetalum aggregatum or Dovea aggregata.
Uses EDIT
This plant can be used in landscaping as it makes a good garden subject in garden beds or containers.
Ecology EDIT
Altitude 1000-1450 m. Rockiness of habitat pebbly, or bedrock. Bedrock: Table Mountain Shale. Groundwater availability well-drained soils. Vegetation type fynbos. South-east clouds present. Among rocks in well-drained habitats, sometimes (often?) in fire-refuges among rocks. Plants killed by fire, regenerating from seed.

This species has no recorded threats and can occur in large numbers.
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