Thamnochortus Insignis

Family:

Restionaceae

Genus:

Thamnochortus

Species:

insignis

Common name:

Mannetjies Riet, Albertinia, Dekriet, Albertinia Thatching Reed, Thatchreed

Vulnerability Index Score:

3

2.5m

March to April

Seeder, Wind

Thatch

What does the plant look like?

Thamnochortus insignis is a large Restio or Cape reed. Its base can grow up to one metre in diameter and it can grow 2.5 metres tall.

What are the flowers like?

As with many other Restio species, the male and female flowers are brown and found on separate plants. Plants flower during March and April.

How does it reproduce?

Thamnochortus insignis is wind-pollinated. The seeds are very small and are released 1-2 months after flowering.

Where is it found?

Thamnochortus insignis grows densely and occurs naturally in the southern Cape, especially around Albertinia. However, seed has been spread by trucks carrying Thatching Reed and as a result the species now also grows along roadsides from Port Elizabeth to the Cederberg – a significant distance from its proper “home”.

How is it used?

It is used to thatch roofs and is also a very popular garden plant.

Conservation

[Red List: Least Concern]

Thamnochortus insignis is the main Restio species used in the thatching industry. Many areas between Cape Agulhas and the Gouritz River mouth have been managed for this species, e.g. regular burning to encourage growth, which in many instances has affected the health of the naturally occurring plant communities in those areas.