Description: Perennial herbs, usually erect or spreading, rarely twining or prostrate; sometimes rhizomatous, roots fibrous or tuberous.
Leaves present or absent at anthesis, often withering early; annual, basal, linear.
Inflorescence paniculate or cymose; flowers single or in umbels; pedicellate. Tepals free, 3–7-veined, persistent, mauve-blue; outer tepals linear to lanceolate, membranous-edged, without fringed margins; inner tepals elliptic; margins fringed. Stamens 6 [or 3], equal or unequal in length; anthers introrse or latrorse, dehiscing by terminal pores or rarely by longitudinal slits (only T. patersonii in N.S.W.). Ovules usually 2 per loculus; style filiform, straight or curved, undivided.
Fruit a capsule enclosed within persistent perianth; seeds black, arillate.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 49 species, Australia, Malesia, Asia. Australia: 49 species (47 species endemic), all States.
Thysanotus is sometimes placed in the family Asparagaceae.
Text by S. McCune & D.W. Hardin
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Flowering stems annual, twining or prostrate; flowers occurring singly on branches; anthers all more or less equal, dehiscing by longitudinal slits||Thysanotus patersonii|
|Flowering stems perennial, not twinning, erect or spreading, or absent; flowers usually 2 or more per umbel, often in paniculate inflorescences; anthers usually unequal, dehiscing by terminal pores||2|
|2||Basal leaves 3–15, usually present at flowering (rarely only bases persistent on stems); roots tuberous||3|
|Basal leaves absent or 1–3; roots fibrous|
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|3||Basal leaves 5–15, usually more than 15 cm long; umbel bracts purple-centred with scarious margins; tubers 3.5–5 cm from rootstock||Thysanotus tuberosus|
|Basal leaves 3–5, usually less than 15 cm long; umbel bracts scarious, colourless; tubers 7–10 cm from rootstock|
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|4||Stems ridged, ridges scabrous with short or tuberculate hairs; terminal umbels usually 2-flowered; outer tepals 3–4 mm wide and mostly 7-veined||Thysanotus virgatus|
|Stems striate, glabrous at least in upper parts; terminal umbels usually more than 2-flowered; outer tepals 1.5–2 mm wide and usually 5-veined|
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