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Rhodocoma fruticosa

   (Family: Restionaceae)
   
Afrikaans: Kanet  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 0.8m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
Biome: Fynbos
 
Flowering time EDIT
      x x   x          
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
Brown
 
White
 
  Flower info
  The male inflorescence is the key in identifying this restio. The inflorescence is 60–200 mm long and contains many pendulous spikelets that have a distinctly elliptical shape. Female inflorescences are upright and can vary in length from 35–300 mm. At flowering their styles, although small, are easy to spot. They occur in threes and are feathery and white.
 
 
 
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
  The attractive culms (stems) are unbranched and are a distinctive grey-green. In restios the leaves have been reduced to papery looking sheaths and each culm has a number of these along its length. Each sheath is 30–50 mm long and provides a nice contrast against the grey culm. As the sheaths age they fray a little along the tips but do not fall off.
 
 
 
 
Seed colour
Brown
  Seed info EDIT
  Fruit: seed surface type 10, (1.2–)1.65(–1.84) mm long, (0.64–)0.95(–1.24) mm in diameter, shape in side view elliptical, shape in diameter round in cross section, brown or grey, colliculate or rugose.
 
 
Description EDIT
These plants have quite a stiff, upright appearance and grow to about 1m tall.

Female inflorescences are upright and can vary in length from 35–300 mm.
The male inflorescence is 60–200 mm long and contains many pendulous spikelets that have a distinctly elliptical shape.

They require full sun, well drained soil and little water once established.
Growing EDIT
There are two ways to propagate restios: dividing the rhizome and sowing seed.

To divide plants, dig up an established specimen and cut the rhizome into big chunks making sure each piece has a good number of culms and roots attached. Plant these pieces into the ground or into pots and water them well. Do this task during late summer before the cool weather arrives when plants send up their new shoots. Plants will take at least a year to settle in and start growing strongly again.

Sow your seed from April–May (autumn) when the days are warm (20–30°C) and the nights are cool (10–15°C). Treat seed prior to planting with Instant Smoke Primer. This smoke treatment vastly improves germination rates. Use seed trays that are 10 cm deep and fill these trays with a well-drained sandy medium. Scatter the seed uniformly over the medium, cover lightly with sand and water gently. Place the trays in a light, well-ventilated area. Keep the trays damp but not wet. Once the plants have developed a few small culms, after ± 6–12 weeks, and are 30 mm tall, they can be pricked out into 6-packs or plug trays. Use a well-drained fynbos potting medium.

Harden off plants in a lightly shaded area until they are growing strongly (± 4 weeks) and then place in the sun. Once the roots start to show through the bottom of the trays, pot into small black bags to grow on further or plant directly into your garden.

You can plant into your garden at any stage during the year provided there is regular deep irrigation. The other option is to use natural rainfall to your advantage and plant at the beginning of the rainy season. Make sure soil is well drained and in a sunny spot. For the first year water well, allowing plants to settle in and send roots down deep into the soil. After this you can reduce watering to a good soak once a week.
Distribution EDIT
Endemic to South Africa.
Distribution in Western Cape, or Eastern Cape, or Natal; the Cape Floristic Region Cape Peninsula or South-western mountains or Bredasdorp Plains or Swartberg and Little Karoo or Langeberg - Outenique mountains or Eastern Cape; Widespread on lower slopes from the Cape Peninsula to Grahamstown, and at middle altitudes in the Drakensberg. Occurrence in Provincial Conservation Areas or National Parks in the Western Cape Marloth or Grootvadersbosch or Outeniqua or Towerkop or Swartberg or Kammanassie.
History EDIT
Uses EDIT
Horticulture - has potential to be a useful landscaping plant suitable for various conditions, particularly dry fynbos.
Ecology EDIT
This is one of the most widespread restionaceous species in South Africa. In the winter-rainfall areas it is associated with dry fynbos at lower altitudes, often in very dry habitats. It is generally found on gravelly soils, derived either from sandstone or laterites. This is particularly striking in the western parts of its distribution range. Towards the east it is more associated with Witteberg quartzites and sandstones. In the Drakensberg the species is found on Cape Sandstone outcrops. It appears to thrive in over-grazed areas, particularly around Grahamstown. Plants coppicing from the rhizome or base after fire.
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References

 
  • eMonocot Team Rhodocoma fruticosa Restionaceae http://restionaceae.e-monocot.org/taxonomy/term/912/descriptions  
 
 

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