Hybanthus is a genus over over 150 species occurring widely in Asia, Africa and the Americas as well as Australia where 10 species are endemic. It is closely related to Viola, the main difference being that it has one petal much larger than the other, giving the appearance of having only a single petal. They are usually herbaceous perennials or small sub-shrubs usually less than 0.5 metres high.
Hybanthus monopetalus is a dwarf, perennial species up to half a metre in height by a similar width. The narrow leaves are about 40-50 mm long. Flowers occur on stalks at the ends of the stems. They are blue to mauve in colour with the conspicuous main pedtal being about 20 mm long and the minute second petal being less than 3 mm long. Flowering occurs in late spring to early summer.
H.monopetalus is an attractive species which is uncommon in cultivation and rarely available commercially. It is likely to prefer well drained, moist soils in a lightly shaded position. The species is tolerant of at least moderate frosts.
Propagation can be carried out from seed, which does not require any pretreatment, or from cuttings.
Photo: Jill Dark