Thysanotus is a genus of about 47 species all of which occur in Australia. Two of these species also occur outside of Australia. They are perennial herbs with ‘lily-like’ flowers that are characterised by the distinctive fringed margins to the flowers.
Thysanotus tuberosus is the most commonly encountered species. It has narrow, linear leaves to about 50 cm long arising from a tuberous rootstock. The flowers occur on branched stems up to 80 cm long, each stem bearing up to eight flowers. Flowers are mauve to purple, about 25 mm diameter and usually occur in spring and early summer. Each flower only opens for a single day but new flowers are produced over an extended period.
Fringe lilies are not often seen in cultivation despite their obvious beauty. Generally they have proved to be difficult to maintain in cultivation. T.tuberosus should be grown in a well drained sunny position. It is also suited to growing in a container.
Propagation is relatively easy from seed which does not require any special pre-treatment.
Photo: Brian Walters