Plants of
South Australia
Cymbopogon obtectus
Gramineae
Silky-heads Lemon Grass
Display all 14 images
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
Enlarge Map
Copy Map
Copy Map
Display IBRA region text

Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.

Etymology

Cymbopogon from the Greek 'kymbe' meaning a boat and 'pogon' meaning a beard; alluding to the boat-shaped spatheoles subtending the hairy racemes. Obtectus

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the northern part of South Australia with disjunct distribution in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, growing near watercourses. Also found in all mainland states. Maybe extinct from Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Very rare or extinct in Victoria. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

A handsome scented grass, to 90 cm high. Leaf blades narrow but usually flat, tapering to a long fine point, ligule 3-5 mm long, glabrous, nodes glabrous. Flower-spike shortly branched panicle, finally bent downwards, emerging from a sheathing bract, densely silky-villous owing to the long hairs arising from the pedicels and articles of the rhachis and almost completely concealing the spikelets and awns; first glume of fertile spikelet 5-nerved between the keels; somewhat obtuse; second glume with a central keel expanded into a narrow wing; awn inconspicuous, very slender, less than 1 cm long. Flowering between March and September. Fruits are fertile lemma 3.6–4.5 mm long, without keel, 1–3 -nerved. Lemma apex lobed, awned, 1 -awned. Median
(principal) awn from a sinus, 6–8 mm long overall, without a column or with a straight or slightly twisted column. Palea absent. Anthers 3. Seeds are yellow grain to 2.5 mm long. Seed embryo type is lateral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between July and December. Use hands to gently strip seeds off the mature seed spike that are fluffy from the hairs and turning straw colour. Mature seeds will come off easily. Alternatively, you can break off the whole seed spike. Place the seeds/spike in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. No further cleaning is required if only seed collected. If seed spikes collected, use hand to strip off the mature seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From one collection, the seed viability was low, ar 45%.

Seeds stored:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
9,200 (24.1 g)
9,200 (24.1 g)
5026-Oct-2004DJD21
Gairdner-Torrens
28-Mar-200645%-18°C
BGA5,000 (13.24 g)30+24-May-2012KHB687
Flinders Ranges
1-Jan-201645%-18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table:
  Display