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Cymbopogon refractus (POACEAE) Barbed Wire Grass

Image: Tubestock

Cymbopogon refractus
Photo: Robert Whyte

A grass native to eastern Australia, widespread and common, prefers lighter, poorer soils. The leaves give off a spicy, lemon-ginger smell when crushed. Habitat for small mammals and frogs. Seeds eaten by Rosellas.

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

Image: Habit


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.

Image: Fruiting bodies closeup

Barbed Wire Grass
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.