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Cymbopogon refractus (POACEAE) Barbed Wire Grass

Habit

Cymbopogon refractus
Photo: Robert Whyte

A clumping grass native to eastern Australia, widespread and common, prefers lighter, poorer soils.

Tufted, erect perennial to 1.5m. Stems smooth, hairless, rigid, branching at maroon nodes.

Habitat for small mammals and frogs. Seeds eaten by Rosellas.

Leaves

Barbed Wire Grass
Photo: Robert Whyte

Leaves are mostly clustered around the base, some on the stems. Leaf blades (lamina) are long and narrow, up to 30cm, bluish green.

The leaves give off a spicy, lemon-ginger smell when crushed.

Fruiting bodies

Barbed Wire Grass
Fruiting body Photo: Robert Whyte

The seedhead is a narrow panicle with branchlets upon which are spikelets of seeds that project at angles in clusters as they ripen, resembling barbed wire. Green, bluish, becomes reed-brown.