Friday, 5 December 2014

Fringe lilies

 Fringe lilies (above) are one of those delicious little wild flowers that you could just eat. The late spring rains have kept the garden nice and I’d noticed the pink trigger plants were still blooming madly in the bush, but today when one of my nieces posted this little lily relative on facebook I realised it was still flowering, too (although not still in our bushland, I think).
My wildflower and garden loving genes come, very definitely, from my botanist mother. Did they skip a generation to my niece? She‘d worked out that its botanical name was Thysanotus tuberosus. Go Fi!
A close relative is Chocolate lilies (Dichopogon strictus, syn. Arthropodium strictum) which is similarly coloured, not fringed, and scented (to me) of vanilla rather than chocolate – but lovely none-the-less. One that Kuranga Native Nursery probably sells, and great in the Christmas stocking.

Tiny mauve flowers of Vanilla lily (Arthropodium milleflorum) are flowering in the garden, too.
I love the way that gum trees hang their scythe-like leaves (thus avoiding some of the beating summer heat and reducing transpiration), thereby allowing sunlight to reach the many species that grow under the canopy. Consequently the understorey is studded with jewels in spring. Many orchids thrive in this species-rich area but I love most the little wildflowers such as Chocolate lilies, Blue stars, Milk maids and, of course, Trigger plants (above, and showing the touch-sensitive column `triggered’, below, see post 22/11/12).

Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (

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