Notes of the Cultivation of South African Restios
Martin Grantham and Virginia Hunt
The common name "restio" refers to members of the family, Restionaceae, a Southern Hemisphere family with its center of diversity in the Western Cape of South Africa where there are probably well over 350 species found, many yet to be recognized. (Expect future taxonomic changes.) Plants have a similar organization to bamboo consisting of a network of subsoil rhizomes giving rise to aerial culms showing varied degrees of branching and a fibrous root system. The rhizomes may be tightly clumping, loosely clumping, to running widely. Several species show annual branch production at the nodes as in Chusquea among bamboos. Leaves are reduced to scales and bracts with stems performing the photosynthetic function. The Restionaceae is the most tightly linked with the Cape vegetation type known as Fynbos (pronounced: Fane-Boss) an open, fire-dependent shrubland like California’s chaparral but with much greater plant diversity. Still, restios are found over a wide environmental and ecological range.
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