Chondropetalum elephantinum ~ Large Cape Rush
Chondropetalum elephantinum is a South African reed in the plant family Restinaceae. This is the African analog to the Rushes in the North American Juncaceae family. Due to an error seeds of the plant we have grown as Chondropetalum tectorum in our gardens is more properly named Chondropetalum elephantinum. And maybe there is a new name coming down the pike . . per San Marcos Growers. Regardless of name Chondropetalum elephantinum has been successful in a wide range of garden conditions. The Large Cape Rush grows on wetland margins in South Africa. Chondorpetalum elephantinum survived in a pond setting in my garden before rotting. Roots were underwater, so maybe that is a limitation but it took a whole year for the plant to sound off. In a number of gardens heavy soil, dry conditions, temperatures into the low teens °F Chondropetalum elephantinum has thrived. Individual stalks start to fade after several years and look shabby. Removing them individually can wear a gardener out if there are more than just a few plants. Wholesale chopping is hard on plants and they take quite some time to recover. Shrinking them by cutting of the tips of stalks leaves long gray dead material throughout the plant. Best to set this one back a bit so plants can assume their natural grace. Chondropetalum elephantinum is striking in the garden, I use them regularly but in limited numbers. Chondropetalum elephantinum grows to 5 feet or more tall. In 20 year old clumps, the base is 4 feet or more wide and the weeping tops approaches 10 feet width. Chondropetalum elephantinum may appreciate some additional summer irrigation but plants growing in inland valley locations have prospered on natural conditions through prolonged drought.
High resolution images of Chondropetalum elephantinum are part of our Garden Image Catalog