Elegia fistulosa

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Botanical Name
Elegia fistulosa
Restionaceae - The Cape reed family.
el-EE-jee-a fist-yoo-LOW-suh
Common Name(s)
English: Hollow Reed
Afrikaans: Pypriet
Plant Group
  • Restio, Sedge and Grass
Plant Size
  • Medium
    Tree10m to 16m
    Shrub1m to 2m
    Perennial/ground cover40cm to 60cm
    Bulb40cm to 60cm
    Succulent40cm to 60cm
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Attractive fruits, berries or seeds Brightly coloured fruits or berries increase and extend the visual impact of the plant and are especially attractive to birds and other small wildlife.
  • Drought Tolerance: Low The plant is unable to survive drought and needs to be watered.
  • Evergreen Plants that have leaves all year round.
  • Frost: Half-hardy The plant is able to survive low temperatures and some frost but requires protection against severe frost.
  • Roots Non-invasive Safe to plant near pools, paving, walls or buildings.
  • Sand tolerant Plants adapted to survive in nutrient poor, very sandy soils.
  • Water Loving Plants need a regular supply of water and must not be allowed to dry out for any length of time.
  • Wind Tolerant Plants able to withstand the effect of strong winds.
Specific Information

Elegia fistulosa is easy to grow, is pest free needs little maintenance. It is neat, tufted and upright, with hollow, slender reed-like stems up to 1 meter tall. It forms a medium sized tussock with a flower head on every stem, on both male and female plants. After flowering in spring, the attractive golden brown bracts remain on the plants for most of the year. The stems grow to maturity and flower during their second year and die off during the third year. The old stems are constantly renewed from the center. Elegia fistulosa will not survive freezing weather but should survive a light frost. Elegia fistulosa does not do well in high traffic areas as the stems are prone to flopping if knocked about.

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flower insignificant and almost hidden by the golden brown bracts

  • Spring to Summer Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • golden brown
Growth Rate
  • Moderate Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Accent or Focal Point A plant used to attract the attention because of its colour or form.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Cut Flowers Plants that provide flowers suitable for ornamental uses.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Water Features These plants may have dramatic, lush foliage or graceful form. They do not shed excessive leaves and do not have invasive root systems.
Distribution and Habitat

widespread from Malmesbury in the Western Cape to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, along the coastal plateaux and mountain ranges, in damp places, or with their roots in running water

Planting Suggestions

Plant in full sun, in very well drained soil, with free air-circulation. Avoid planting near a hot wall. Feed with slow release, high nitrogen organic or chemical fertilizer and water regularly. If grown in hot, dry areas they must be watered several times a week.

Medicinal Uses

No data found.

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