The Cape Fynbos Flora is remarkable for the scarcity or absence of true grasses. Their place is taken by plants of the Restionaceae family – Cape reeds or restios. The typically tufted growth habit and the paper-like flowers in shades of brown at the end of the stems, make the restios easy to recognise. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants, and the male plants are sometimes very different from the female plants of the same species. Restios can survive veld fires and are well adapted to a climate with a defined dry season.
The Restionaceae have a distribution similar to the Proteaceae, confirmed to the southern hemisphere. The main concertration of genera and species is in South Africa’s Cape Floral Region. Of the 28 genera and 320 species, 12 genera (11 endemic) containing 316 species(all endemic) occur in southern Africa. Certain species have traditionally been used for thatching, and Thamnochortus insignis is still commercially harvested in the Albertinia area.