Elegia tectorum

Elegia (1024x684)Behold, a victim of those who cannot be defied; The Name Changers.  Initially this South African marsh dweller was known as Elegia tectorum this was then changed variously to Chondropetalum tectorum and Restio tectorum.  In 2005 TNC’s, just to keep us on our toes, decided that Elegia tectorum was a mighty fine name after all.  I am quite pleased because this my favorite of the three.  Elegia in Latin means Song of Lamentation, a name both poignant and heart rendering; tectorum means um ….. roofing.  Indeed its common name is Cape thatching reed because of its extensive use as a roofing material, still it somewhat spoils the mood.   At Cliffe ours has lived quite happily for the last couple of years in a very exposed spot on the Lawn Beds, not yet reaching the expected 1.5m but give the kid time.  We may have enough to thatch our new bird box, the potting shed will have to wait.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Elegia tectorum

  1. diversifolius

    Yet another new one – no wonder if it’s from South Africa. In the AGS Seedex this year I didn’t recognize any S. African genus 😦 Probably would go invasive given enough moisture?

    • I would imagine if they use it for thatching it must be vigorous in the right conditions. Slow so far with us. Very pretty though. Actually not sure that pretty is the right word. Attractive.

  2. One of the highlights of my time in Scotland was watching the thatching of a roof. The thatcher reminded me of Spiderman, he was so agile.

  3. I love to say Chondropetalum so I categorically refuse to accept this name change back to Elegia! This would explain though why Elegia cuspidata looks so similar to Chondropetalum tectorum to me.

    diversifolius not sure where you are but I wouldn’t expect this to be that invasive under normal circumstances. The plants are dioecious so you would need plants of both sexes and I think they need smoke treatment for good germination. They are also clumping plants so don’t run via stoloniferous roots like some grasses/bamboos.

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