Restios make up the unique distinguishing feature of fynbos vegetation, a major component of the Cape Floristic Region at the southern tip of Africa.
Related object in the collection
Ndebele woman's apron
On display in room 25
Restios have many practical uses, and continue to be used in the Eastern Cape for thatching houses as they have for hundreds of years.
In other areas of South Africa where restios are not available, grasses are used instead. This is the case for the Ndebele people of South Africa who have developed distinctive decoration in their house designs. These decorations can also be seen in their beautiful beadwork and weaving.
Restio © Richard Wilford, Stephen Ruddy, RBG Kew
Ndebele women of South Africa outside their homes © AfricaImagery.com
Ndebele woman's apron decorated with thousands of glass beads © Trustees of the British Museum