Tufted blue-lily (Thelionema caespitosum)

Ben Shaw

Katoomba, Australia

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Artist's Description

Family: Phormiaceae
Distribution: Widespread in open forests, woodlands and heaths of eastern and south-eastern Australia.
Common Name: Tufted blue-lily
Derivation of Name: Thelionema… From Greek thelion, teat or nipple and nema, a thread, referring to the stamen filaments that are papillary hairy except at the tip and the base.
caespitosum…From Latin caespes, turf or sod and the suffix -osus, plenitude or notable development, referring to the tufted growth habit.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:
Thelionema is a small genus of three species comprising tufted perennial herbs with long, narrow leaves and lily-type flowers. All species occur only in Australia and they were previously considered to belong to the genus Stypandra.

T.caespitosum (formerly Stypandra caespitosum) is a perennial herb with linear leaves 30-90 cm long by 2-12 mm wide. The plants spread by underground rhizomes and can form dense clumps. Flowers occur on branched stems that extend above the leaves and are usually deep blue with yellow anthers although white forms are known. The flowers are star-like, about 25 mm in diameter and flowering is from spring to mid summer. Apparently hybridization with the other two species occurs.

This species has been in cultivation for many years and is hardy in a wide range of climates and reasonably well drained soils. It prefers a position in full sun or lightly shaded. If older, dead leaves look unattractive, these can be easily removed without harm to the plant.

Propagation from seed is unreliable and better results are obtained by division of the grassy clumps, usually after flowering.

This flower was shot in the Blue Mountains NSW.

Ref: Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP)

Thanks to ChrisRoss for informing me of the name of this flower!

Artwork Comments

  • Daniel Rayfield
  • Ben Shaw
  • RichardV
  • GerryMac
  • Davies
  • Andy Harris
  • Teleis
  • eltotton
  • Lorraine Creagh
  • Daniel J. McCauley IV
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