Plant of the Month – January 2015


(Tricoryne tenella)

   (Photos: E. Cousins; habit, seed capsules, flowers; Cape Jervis)

A little tufted plant, this beauty deserves its name: tenella is from the Latin for ‘dainty’. The actual plant pictured was about 40cm high, with the stems standing almost erect. Mostly they grow to about 45cm. There are almost no leaves, and the ones there are, are just little scales. However, the stems branch into slender clusters, making for a dense little plant. The flowers appear in spring to midsummer. These are yellow and 6-petalled, with a cute little group of very upright stamens. The flowers roll into a tight twist when finished (you can see one twist clearly in the centre photo). These are followed by the seed capsules, with a conical tip and three small ribs, hence the ‘tri’ in ‘tricoryne’. The plants will grow on sand along the coast, or in the heath and mallee…quite good for us in S.A. then!