Thysanotus tuberosus (LILIACEAE) Fringed Lily

Plants to Plant

A perennial herb to 30 cm with a tuberous root system and lily-like flowers characterised by distinctive fringed margins. Widespread in grasslands and woodlands in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Leaves linear to more or less cylindrical towards tip, 20-60 cm long. Flowers are mauve to purple on branched stems, each stem bearing up to eight flowers in spring and early summer. Thysanotus from Greek thysanotos, fringed and tuberosus from Latin tuberculum, a swelling, referring to the tubers on the roots. Not often seen in cultivation despite their obvious beauty, the Society for Growing Australian Plants reports they have proved to be difficult to maintain in cultivation. Propagation is relatively easy from seed which does not require any special pre-treatment. Edible root – raw or cooked. A crisp juicy texture but it has very little flavour, Tim Low, Wild Food Plants of Australia, Angus and Robertson, 1989.

Photo: Dick Harding