The thyrsus was a symbolic implement from ancient times made of a rod with a pine cone fixed on the top. It was associated with Bacchus or Dionysus, and in the midst of this silly season and the Spring Carnival in Melbourne, when Dionysus’ bacchanalian cult seems to be active at every Cup Day barbecue and racing event, it is quite fitting to be reminded of it by a rather upright planting in the Fitzroy Gardens this sunny spring afternoon.
The radiant golden racemes of the Wachendorfia thyrsiflora (where the thyrsus reference comes from) are in full splendour at the moment. The timing of this planting to coincide with the stunning Doryanthes exelsa’s flowers (towering above on their immense stem) is impressive.
Both are fairly tough plants as long as they have adequate water (I find the Wachendorfia won’t flower if it dries out). If you want to find out more, check out the links below.