Spiny headed Mat-rush
Spiny Headed Mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia)
Family: Asparagaceae (syn. Xanthorrhoeaceae)
Size: 0.5 – 1m
Description: Dense clumping tussock
Habitat: Common and widespread along watercourses, rainforest edges, damp forests but also found in drier forests and woodland.
Foliage: Strap like glossy dark green leaves 1.3m x 10mm.
Flowers: Male and female creamy coloured whorled flower clusters on slightly flattened branched spiny flower spikes, occur on separate plants and appear in spring.
Fruit & seeds: Immature seeds on female seed spikes are green and turn yellow when they ripen (December-January).
Roots: Thick and fibrous with long blade like leaves emanating from them.
Distribution: Coastal ranges of TAS, VIC, NSW, SA and QLD.
Uses: Edible white leaf bases that taste like raw peas (softest from the central clumps) – male and female flowers can be eaten raw – the ripe yellow mature seeds are edible but are extremely hard and difficult to process – the green seeds have a nice nutty taste and are easier to process but still quite labour intensive (grain removed from husks, roasted and eaten) – nectar collected from female flowers – the leaves can be used to make baskets, eel traps and fibres for cordage (leaves shrink and curl inwards once harvested) – dead leaves buffed up make very good tinder for fire lighting.
Medicinal: Traditionally roots were crushed and made into a poultice to be used on ant stings.