Mat Rush

Lomandra longifolia

Also know as: Spiny-head Mat-rush or Basket Grass

A robust, perennial, mounding grass.  Leaves are glossy green, shiny, firm, flat. They can grow from 40cm to 1m long and 8-12mm wide and are usually taller than the flowering stem. Leaf bases are broad with yellow, orange or brownish margins and the tips of the leaves are prominently toothed. Flowers of L. longifolia are scented and dioecious, with the female flower often a little bit longer or larger than the male flower. The heavy-smelling nectar on flowers can attract pollinating beetles. Flowering in warm temperature is in late winter/early spring, fruiting occurs 1-2 months after flowering.

The Mat Rush grows Australia wide except for the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It can grow in a wide range of sandy soils, in swamps and wet places on banks of creeks, rocky hillsides, cliffs and open forests, and is found as high as the tree line in montane zones.  L. longifolia is highly drought-tolerant but also can tolerate occasional flooding, withstand low temperatures down to -7°C and succeeds in moist soil in Australia. However, the plant can die back in a wet winter nor does it survive well in areas with cooler summers.

Aboriginal people use the leaves of L. longifolia to make strong nets, eel traps and baskets, and they consume the base of L. longifolia leaves as food.

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