Cymbopogon refractus (POACEAE) Barbed-wire Grass

Plants to Plant

A clumping grass native to eastern Australia, widespread and common, prefers lighter, poorer soils. Tufted, erect perennial to 1.5 m. Stems smooth, hairless, rigid, branching at maroon nodes. Habitat for small mammals and frogs. Seeds eaten by Rosellas Platycercus spp.

Photo: Robert Whyte


Leaves are mostly clustered around the base, some on the stems. Leaf blades (lamina) are long and narrow, up to 30 cm, bluish green. The leaves give off a spicy, lemon-ginger smell when crushed.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Fruiting Bodies

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.
Fruiting body. Photo: Robert Whyte