Chondropetalum tectorum (Elegia t.) is a striking accent plant with upright, arching, thin, reed-like, evergreen clumping stems. This small beautiful, grass-like plant has dark brown flowers in narrow spikes that contrast nicely with the green stems. Planted for its graceful texture and form, Small Cape Rush creates drama in the landscape with movement and sound as it sways in the wind. This restio looks good in any garden style or container and grows well in seaside gardens, near the shallows of a water garden, or in a waterwise garden. Drought tolerant once established but looks better with supplemental water as needed. Filtered light or afternoon shade may be best in hot inland climates.
There is confusion among many as the plant originally known as Chondropetalum tectorum has undergone a change in identity and nomenclature as the one species was reclassified into two species and also a new genus (Elegia). Chondropetalum elephantinum (Elegia elephantina) is the larger, more robust plant, growing to 6 feet tall or more. The true Chondropetalum tectorum (Elegia tectorum) is smaller at 3 feet or less with thinner stems. Adding to the confusion, all Small Cape Rush plants are not identical because the male flowers (stamens) and female flowers (pistils) are borne on different plants resulting in differences in the flower spikes.