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Lomandra hystrix (R.Br.) L.R.Fraser & Vickery 1937
pronounced: loh-MAN-druh HIS-trix
(Asparagaceae – the asparagus family)
common names: Slender Mat-rush, Creek Mat-rush
Lomandra is derived from the Greek λωμα (loma), the border of a robe, and ανηρ (aner), a man, referring to the borders on the anthers of some species; 'υστριξ (hystrix), is the Greek word for the porcupine – prickly.
This usually flowers and fruits as a shrubby plant about a metre tall. It is a native grass with slender strap-like leaves, widely used as an ornamental and for bank stabilization plantings. In its natural state it is found on the edge of fresh-water and brackish creeks, swamps and rivers, anywhere north of Taree in NSW. The plant photographed is on the bank of Gustav Creek in Nelly Bay, near the clinic.
The leaves are smooth, flat and long, usually up to about 130 cm, and 1 – 2 cm wide, pointed, with teeth on each side of the main point, which reaches out further than the teeth. Venation is longitudinal and parallel.
The flowers are in branched inflorescences; the major branches are up to 20 cm long. The cluster bracts are spiny, to about 10 cm. The yellow to cream flowers grow along the branchlets in spring and summer. The male flowers are sessile, pleasantly perfumed, about 3 mm in diameter, arranged in whorls on the main branches of the inflorescence. There are 6 stamens, attached to the tepals, and the anthers are yellow. The female flowers have dimorphic staminodes, the shorter ones alternating with the inner tepals, and the longer ones opposite the inner tepals. The ovary is green, and the stigma 3-lobed.
The fruits are globular, about 5 by 4 mm, 3-lobed in transverse section. The style is persistent at the apex of the fruit. There are 3 or 4 seeds per fruit, each seed about 4 mm long, with a very thin testa. The endosperm is hard and starchy.
The starchy, fleshy bases of the leaves are said to be edible, tasting like raw peas.
The plant is host to a number of Lepidoptera caterpillars, including:
• the Barred Skipper Dispar compacta;
• the Large Dingy Skipper Toxidia peron;
• the Iacchus Skipper Trapezites iacchus;
• the Northern Silver Ochre Trapezites maheta; and
• the Splendid Ochre Trapezites symmomus.
Photographs taken in Nelly Bay 2014
Page last updated 22nd January 2018